Menopause is a transition stage in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating for over 12 months continuously. When menopause sets in, the ovaries stop production of eggs, resulting in irregular menstrual activity that eventually ceases. Other hormonal changes occur and symptoms like stomach cramps, pain in the leg, irritability, mood swings, hot flashes and decrease in bone density accompany menopause.
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 55, and is a natural event in every woman’s life. It comes with its own string of health issues, be they physical or emotional, and can be a particularly trying time for those who suffer side effects of menopausal symptoms. They are just ways in which our body reacts to the decrease in production of female hormones.
Menopause and Stomach Cramps: Symptoms
Some women (the luckiest of the lot) may experience few symptoms, while others complain of mild to severe ones. However, the reassuring part is that the variation is normal. Women experiencing pelvic pain or cramps during menopause may recall suffering the same right before or during their menstrual periods and this may have a link to their hormonal cycle.
A common phenomenon during menstruation, this pelvic pain is termed as dysmenorrhea. However, if these stomach cramps occur during menopause and are severe enough to interfere with daily activities, then the cause may be an underlying condition and should be checked by a doctor.
Menopause and Stomach Cramps: Treatments
Stomach cramps experienced during menopause may be for a long period or occur infrequently for a short spell. If intense uterine contractions occur due to the hormonal changes taking place during menopause and are too prolonged, medical treatment for the cause may be necessary to get relief. Some Over the Counter (OTC) drugs are available to reduce pain and discomfort associated with stomach cramps and those medications that do not contain steroids are preferable.
Other pleasurable options (since most of the gentler species would consider a pleasurable option to a merely therapeutic one) are, for menopausal women to enjoy a good, long soak in a hot bath or use a heating pad on the abdomen. The heat from the hot water or pad helps in increasing the blood flow and this reduces the stomach cramps or muscle spasms.
Menopause and Stomach Cramps: Psychological Counseling
A nutritionally balanced, healthy diet, regular physical exercise, sufficient rest, cutting back on alcohol intake and cigarette smoking also helps in reducing stomach cramps during menopause. If the stomach cramps are so severe that they prevent you from enjoying your routine activities and timely rest does not help, it can be due to some other physical or emotional/behavioral disorders.
This kind of abdominal cramp can manifest itself in other ways and worsen behavioral symptoms like irritability, hostility, aggressive behavior, anxiety and depression. For treating this properly, it is very important for a woman to speak to someone she can confide in about any troublesome issues she may be facing or seek medical/psychological counseling to bring out the underlying issue so it can be dealt with effectively.
Doctors recommend a positive change in lifestyle and advice all such women to eat a balanced diet, take their vitamins on time, incorporate regular exercise in their life and learn to take things easier. These tips go a long way in reducing stress, the underlying cause for stomach cramps and menopause discomfort.