Can Severe Menstrual Cramps Cause Infertility

Can Severe Menstrual Cramps Cause Infertility
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Menstruation and the following cramps are unavoidable if you are born a woman. They might have been irritating during your first few menstrual cycles, but as days and years go by, they become a part of your womanhood.

That said, having mild cramps during your menstrual cycle is normal. But what happens when you have severe menstrual cramps? What do they signify? Are they a sign of infertility?

We will look into all these in detail in this article. Read till the end to know more about it.

Can Severe Menstrual Cramps Impact Fertility

Menstrual cramp, also called “dysmenorrhea,” is the abdominal pain that women experience during their menstrual cycles. These pains are normal and are common in most women.

One of the biggest fears women have is whether severe menstrual cramps can cause infertility. While the cramp itself won’t cause infertility, the factors that cause these severe cramps can cause infertility.

Period pain is caused by the prostaglandins that stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. During menstruation, these contractions help the uterus expel the uterine tissues and the unfertilized egg.

Normal levels of prostaglandins, also called “primary dysmenorrhea,” don’t cause severe cramps and won’t affect infertility. However, severe menstrual cramps, also called “secondary dysmenorrhea,” can affect your chances of getting pregnant.

Severe menstrual cramps can also cause pelvic inflammations. These inflammations damage the fallopian tubes and prevent the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization. This can also be a reason why you have difficulty conceiving.

What Causes Severe Period Cramps

A medium amount of period cramps are normal for women. Complications only arise when the period pain becomes more severe. This probably means that you have other issues that intensify your period pain. Below are some issues that can cause painful periods and lead to infertility.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where a tissue similar to the one present in the inner wall of the uterus (endometrium) grows in places outside the uterus. These tissues can grow anywhere in the pelvic regions, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic floor, bladder, etc.

These tissues can bleed and cause severe pain in women. Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of infertility. Apart from severe period cramps, it can also cause severe issues like chronic inflammation, chocolate cysts (cysts filled with blood), adhesions, etc., if left untreated for a long time.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is almost similar to endometriosis. But instead of growing outside the uterus, the tissue grows within and inside the uterine muscle structure. It can make your periods very painful and might cause infertility in serious cases.

Adenomyosis also makes intercourse painful. Studies show that this condition is more prevalent in women older than 30, but some have been found in teenagers as well.

Fibroids

Fibroids or uterine fibroids are benign tumors (muscular growths) that grow in or on the uterus, cervix, and pelvic ligaments. They are usually not very painful but can cause heavy periods.

Fibroids are more common to develop during one’s reproductive years. They may sometimes cause pain, reduce fertility, and cause miscarriages.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

A PID is an infection of the reproductive organs that occurs when a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is left untreated or not treated properly. It can cause scarring and inflammation in the infected site.

A PID can occur in the ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes. It is notorious for causing blocked fallopian tubes and painful periods, which ultimately lead to infertility issues.

Can Treatments for Painful Periods Cause Infertility

It is best to consult a fertility doctor if you experience severe cramps during menstruation. They can diagnose your condition and prescribe the right medication and treatment for you.

While treatments are a better option to treat these issues, you should also know if the treatments can impact your fertility.

Medication

Most times, if you have a painful period, your first thought will be to buy over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, etc.

Though some studies say that these medications delay the time taken for a woman to get pregnant, there is no absolute evidence suggesting that they cause infertility issues.

Surgery

You might have to undergo surgeries to treat conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, etc. Though these surgeries are effective in resolving your condition, they might sometimes cause infertility.

These chances are very rare as your fertility doctor will ensure the surgery is performed without affecting your ability to bear children. However, if the condition is serious, the surgery might affect your infertility. Discuss with your doctor and follow any precautions they might suggest to you.

Conclusion

It is normal for you to experience some level of menstrual cramps during your periods. But if the pain is more intense than normal and it happens during every menstrual cycle, consult a Gynecologist immediately. It might be a sign of other health conditions.

You can discuss with your doctor about the treatment procedure and whether they can affect your fertility. Understand the procedure completely before deciding to undergo it.

FAQs

A painful period can sometimes be due to infertility issues. While the cramp itself won’t cause infertility, the factors that cause these severe cramps can cause infertility. So, it is best to visit your doctor if you have severe pain during your period.

Having a heavy period is usually not an issue of concern. They do not decrease your ability to get pregnant. However, the underlying cause of heavy bleeding can affect your fertility. Visit your doctor if you have heavy periods for some months in a row.

Visit your doctor if you have severe period cramps. Don’t take any medication on your own. Depending on your condition, your doctor might suggest painkillers or hormonal birth control pills. You might require surgery if the condition is severe.

A light period is when you have periods for less than two days. This is not usually a sign of infertility. But it can sometimes make it more difficult for you to achieve pregnancy.

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Dr. Rukkayal Fathima
Dr. Rukkayal Fathima

Dr Rukkayal Fathima, India's Leading Gynaecologist and the best fertility doctor in Chennai. She has 11+ years of experience and treated 1000+ patients. She finished her M. S., Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the Institute of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Madras Medical College), Chennai. She is a visiting consultant at St. Isabelle Hospital, Motherhood Hospital, Rainbow Hospital & Mehta Hospital. Dr Rukkayal Fathima specialises in Obstetrics care, Early Pregnancy Scan, IVF, ICSI, TESA/Micro TESE, Menopause advice, Gynaecological surgeries and endoscopy. She is a Co-Founder of Hive Fertility, the Best Fertility Center in Chennai.

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