What Causes Period Cramps?


Imagine that you are about to give a presentation at work that will be a foundation for your career breakthrough, and all of a sudden, you start feeling pain from period cramps. I call them destroyers of dreams and enemies of progress. But they’re also a part of nature, and as we were taught, never argue with nature. These antagonizing pains are part of monthly life for one out of every five women. There are different varieties of period cramps, and while certain menstruating women can predict their cramp pain by the hour, there are also those who experience the pains less often. But the big question is, what causes period cramps? Let’s find out together.

Causes of period cramps

Here are four common causes of period cramps.

Prostaglandins levels

A typical menstrual circle is expected to run for 28 days. After every circle, if there has been no sperm to facilitate fertilization, there is a contraction of the uterus to expel the lining along its wall. This process is triggered by substances known as prostaglandins, which are similar to hormones.

Prostaglandins are chemicals that realign themselves with the uterus when a woman is menstruating. These chemicals cause muscle contractions, which leads to cramps that can be equated to the pain one undergoes during childbearing.

Uterine defection

This is a structural alteration that leads to period cramps. When a woman is pregnant, her uterus will start to develop from Mullerian ducts. If the uterus doesn’t form correctly, the woman may suffer from sensations similar to period cramps or worse, infertility.  Such structural defects include: having a bicornuate uterus, where there are two wombs leading to one cervix; a healthy uterus bisected with a fibrous band of tissue; or a uterus developing from one Mullerian duct. Any menstrual cramps will be likely from the blockages within the uterus and the vagina.

Pelvic inflammation

Whenever a woman suffers from a pelvic infection disease caused by sexually transmitted infections that go untreated, she is likely to experience period cramps. This is a severe case, and if the pelvic infection disease is left untreated, it can lead to infertility. When one is menstruating, the hormones around the uterus and any scar tissue may get irritated, thus causing increased inflammation and pain.

Copper IUD insertion

This is a non-hormonal form of birth control that can prevent one from getting pregnant for about 10 years. The copper UID is inserted into the uterus by a health expert.  The device releases copper, which stops sperm from moving, hence no fertilization.  The copper IUD is different from a progestin IUD. As a result, the menses get thicker and more painful during the first cycle after it has been inserted.

Other contributing causes may be adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, and cervical stenosis.


It’s important to note that period pain affects almost half of all women. Period cramps not caused by any structural defect are commonly known as primary dysmenorrhea. Therefore, you should not be alarmed when you get these pains. You can rely on remedies such as painkillers to control the pain and get through your day.