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Menstrual pain

What are painful menstrual periods?

Menstruation, or period, is the normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. Painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea, occur in many women. The pain is most often due to menstrual cramps, which are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. You may also have other symptoms, such as lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. Period pain is not the same as premenstrual syndrome. PMS causes many different symptoms, including weight gain, bloating, irritability, and fatigue. PMS often begins one to two weeks before the start of your period.

What causes painful menstrual periods?

There are two types of dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary. Each class has different causes. The most common type of menstrual pain is primary dysmenorrhea. It is a menstrual pain that is not caused by another condition. It is usually caused by too many prostaglandins and chemicals in the uterus. These chemicals cause the muscles in your uterus to contract and relax, which causes cramping. The pain may start a day or two before your period. It usually lasts a few days, although in some women it may last longer. Menstrual pain usually begins in youth, just after you start having menstrual periods. Often, as you get older, you experience less pain. Pain may also improve after you have given birth. Secondary dysmenorrhea often begins later in life. It is caused by diseases that affect your uterus or other reproductive organs, such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids. It is common for this type of pain to often get worse over time. It may begin before your period starts, and continue until after it ends.

What can I do for period pain?

To help relieve your period pain, you can try the following: Using a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower abdomen. Exercising Taking a hot bath

Practicing relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation. You can also try taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen and naproxen. In addition to relieving pain, these anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the number of prostaglandins produced by the uterus and lessen their effects. This helps reduce cramping. You can take them when you first have symptoms, or when your period starts, and you can continue taking them for a few days. You should not take them if you have ulcers, other stomach problems, bleeding problems, or liver disease. You also should not take them if you are allergic to aspirin. Always check with your healthcare provider if you are unsure, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also help to get enough rest and avoid alcohol and tobacco use.

When is it necessary to see a health professional for menstrual pain?

For many women, some pain during their period is normal. However, you should talk to your health care provider if: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and self-care do not help, and the pain interferes with your life. Cramps suddenly get worse You are over 25 years old and have severe cramps for the first time You have a fever with your period pain Have pain even when you are not on your period

How is the cause of severe menstrual pain diagnosed?

In order to diagnose severe menstrual pain, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a pelvic exam. An ultrasound or other imaging test may also be used. If your healthcare provider thinks you have secondary dysmenorrhea, you may have a pelvic laparoscopy, a surgery that allows your healthcare provider to look inside your body.

What are the treatments for severe menstrual pain?

If you have primary dysmenorrhea and need medical treatment, your health care provider may suggest the use of hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, patch, ring, or an intrauterine device. Prescription pain relievers may be another treatment option. If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your treatment depends on the condition that is causing the problem. In some cases, you may need surgery.

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