Bad Menstrual Cramps? It Might Be In Your Mind

A study out of Taiwan has shown a correlation between women who experience moderate to severe cramping every month and changes or abnormalities in the gray matter of the brain.

Researchers at the Institute of Brain Science at National Yang-Ming University in Taipei have now done two separate studies using two different brain scans on groups of women who experience intense pain before or during menstruation.

In the studies, they used optimized voxel-based morphometry and positron emission tomography, two powerful scans that show brain activity and functions. In both, the women involved had strange developmental changes in gray matter, as well as in the way their brains process and deal with pain.

“A long-term bombardment by peripheral pain can elicit plastic changes in the central brain as a reactive adaptation. It can also be a crucial mechanism that perpetuates the ‘chronification’ of pain,” lead researcher Dr. Jen-Chuen Hsieh said.

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