What causes pain in the legs during menstruation?

Written by jenn foreacre
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Every 28 to 32 days a woman's menstrual cycle starts over, kicking off with the first day of her period. Menstruation takes place over the course of several days, and during this time the unfertilised egg and lining of the uterus are shed. Menstruation may take as little as three to four days or as long as six to seven days. The duration of menstruation and the intensity of its side effects vary from woman to woman. Many women complain of physical ailments during menstruation, including cramps, nausea, fatigue, and cramping and pain in the thighs and legs.

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Side Effects of Menstruation

There are many side effects of a woman's period. In addition to mild to severe bleeding, a woman can expect to experience some or all of these symptoms: fatigue, irritability, emotional sensitivity, cramping, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and even aches and twinges of pain in the abdomen, lower back, thighs and legs. Some of these symptoms present themselves in the days leading up to the start of menstruation; in other instances they'll start when menstruation does. The severity and duration of these symptoms varies with each woman.

Causes of Leg Pain

Leg pain is a common ailment that women complain of during premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstruation. There are several reasons leg pain may occur. According to Pain-Digest.net, dehydration, mineral deficiency and vitamin deficiency are probable causes of leg pain. It's also possible that your uterus and legs share a nerve pathway, in which case pain from uterine contractions could trigger pain in your leg.

In other cases, endometriosis or dysmenorrhoea may be the reason thigh or leg pain is occurring. Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue grows elsewhere in the body. The condition causes lesions that can be found throughout the pelvic cavity, though they can also be found in the bowel, intestines, colon, appendix, rectum and bladder. The condition causes pelvic pain, pain in the lower back and legs, and it interferes with menstrual cycles and a woman's ability to get pregnant.

Dysmenorrhoea is a condition that causes difficult and painful menstruation. It is one of the most common problems physicians address with women, and it affects up to 75 per cent of post-pubescent women. It causes heavy menstrual flow, crampy and labour-like pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, backaches and leg pain.

Remedies

Leg pain associated with menstruation can be treated in several ways. You can elevate your legs and apply a hot water bottle or a heated pad to the source of the pain. You can soak in a hot bath or taking a lengthy shower.

Medication may also alleviate leg pain. Anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal painkillers can ease pain in most cases. According to Patient UK, these types of medications block the prostaglandin chemical, which is thought to trigger leg pain. In addition to blocking the chemical that is thought to trigger leg pain, these types of medications can also reduce menstrual bleeding. Over-the-counter options include Motrin and ibuprofen. If you need something stronger, speak to your physician and ask for a prescription-strength solution.

Prevention

Preventing leg pain can often be accomplished by eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough sleep each night. A daily multivitamin can assure that you're not suffering from a mineral or vitamin deficiency. If you do experience leg pain, a painkiller or application of a hot pack can help to alleviate it.

Tips

You shouldn't have to suffer through leg pain. Speak to your physician if you're experiencing leg pain and other physical discomfort during menstruation. Together, you can create a treatment plan that will help you to effectively manage any type of pain you might experience while having your period.

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