When Should I See A Doctor
You might have sharp pain or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. If it lasts just for the first 1 or 2 days of your period it is probably normal. See a doctor if:
- the pain lasts for longer than 2 days
- it doesnt go away when you take the contraceptive pill or painkillers
- it stops you from doing your normal daily activities
- it hurts when you go to the toilet
- you get pain in the pelvic area when you dont have a period
- sex is painful
- you have an intrauterine device
When To Seek Treatment For Period Pain
Menstrual bleeding varies for everyone. But it is not normal to regularly overflow your menstrual products, have to wear a tampon and a pad simultaneously, sleep on a towel overnight, or skip social events simply because youre menstruating.
If a loved one or provider tells you your pain and discomfort are normal, remember that normal doesnt mean acceptable. Your life shouldnt revolve around your period.
If you regularly experience cramps, pain, and abnormal bleeding, talk with your primary care provider and advocate for yourself if you dont feel heard. You can also self-refer to any provider within the UT Southwestern Obstetrics and Gynecology department.
To visit with an Ob/Gyn about painful, heavy periods, call orrequest an appointment online.
You Have Other Symptoms
Maybe youre really not sure whether your cramps are normal or not, but you also experience other related symptoms. Other worrisome symptoms may include:
- Cramps accompanied by nausea or diarrhea
- Pelvic pain at times beside your period
- Spotting between cycles
To evaluate what may be wrong, your healthcare provider may suggest:
- Blood work
- Exploratory laparoscopy
- Pelvic exam with sexually transmitted infection testing
- Pelvic ultrasound
Its important to know that endometriosis can only be diagnosed with exploratory laparoscopy. It cant be ruled with ultrasound or a pelvic exam. However, laparoscopy is an invasive, surgical procedure, so your doctor may not recommend having it unless your symptoms are especially bad.
Sometimes it happens that you see your doctor and are told everything is fine. If your cramps arent interfering with your daily life, this may be reassuring and an acceptable answer. However, if your cramps are making it difficult to work and live, dont accept Youre fine as an answer. Seek out another doctor.
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What Is Cramping Pain
Menstrual pain which is also known by its medical term, dysmenorrhea is the most common cause of gynecological complaints. Studies have estimated that cramps affect anywhere from 45% to 95% of women at some point. Menstrual pain is also a common cause of school and work absenteeism, especially in women who experience severe symptoms.There are different types of menstrual pain, and identifying its cause is an important step. Doctors usually divide menstrual pain into two categories: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs when there isnt an underlying medical condition that causes your menstrual pain. Secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, is associated with at least one identifiable condition that causes pain.
Primary dysmenorrhea symptoms and characteristics include:
- Pain that occurs near the start of your menstruation.
- Can be associated with other symptoms, such as headaches, back pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
- You dont suffer from any disease that can explain your cramps.
- Secondary dysmenorrhea symptoms include:
- Connection with an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids or polyps and pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Your cramps might become more painful over time or change their previous pattern.
- The primary disease can cause other gynecologic symptoms.
Your Thyroid Is Out Of Whack
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes thyroid hormone, which provides the spark for bodily functions like digestion, generation of body heat, detoxification and ovulation. Every single cell in your body needs thyroid hormone.
The most common thyroid problem is when the gland is underactive, which is called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism interferes with ovulation, which means youll be making less progesterone. And remember that low progesterone promotes inflammation.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid. Unfortunately many women with hypothyroidism never get diagnosed because the standard screening test doesnt show the whole picture. I always recommend a complete thyroid panel that includes TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.
Getting the right thyroid tests can be tricky. Ive had many patients tell me that their conventional doctors straight-up refuse to order a full thyroid panel for them. Its really frustrating, but thankfully you can get a thyroid panel for yourself online.
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Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay area.
Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, but teas have been used by menstruating women in numerous cultures for centuries.
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Up The Magnesium In Your Diet
Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps, says DeJarra Sims, ND, a faculty member at Bastyr University in San Diego and the author of Your Healthiest Life Now.
If you want to take a magnesium supplement, Dr. Sims suggests speaking with your doctor, since the dose you need depends on the severity of your cramps along with other factors.
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Feels Like I’m Dying From Menstrual Cramps Am I Normal
Its that time of the month when your hormones are supposedly out of whack, everything annoys you, and it feels like a shark is attacking your abdominal area. As much as you dont like it, you know menstrual cramps are normal. But what if it seems like this time is the worst out of all the other times? As much as 29 percent of women experience severe menstrual cramps that are bad enough for medical attention. Womens expert Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones tells you how to identity whether or not your menstrual cramps are normal or not.
Best Ways To Stop Period Cramps Asap
Period cramps are common among menstruating women and totally normal. Period cramps are usually felt within the mid-to-lower abdomen but can also affect other areas of the body. The pain typically lasts for one to three days, either gradually subsiding or coming and going, with severity varying from woman to woman.1 in 10 women experience severe period cramps that affect their daily goings-on, while most of us experience moderate to intense pain until around age 20, or after pregnancy, where pain usually becomes milder.
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Care Advice For Menstrual Cramps
Having A Pelvic Examination
Your GP may want to carry out a pelvic examination to help diagnose or rule out other causes of your period pain.
They’ll insert gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina to feel for any abnormalities in your womb or ovaries.
The examination won’t be carried out without your permission. You can also ask to have a female GP do it if you prefer. You can bring a friend or relative to the appointment if you want, or ask the practice nurse to be there.
In some cases your GP may also order a pelvic ultrasound.
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How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps 10 Secret Weapons
Ever wonder how to get rid of period cramps? I know. It might seem strange that, as a man, Im offering advice on how to combat painful periods. But with so many women suffering from painful PMS symptoms each month, its a topic Ive wanted to tackle for some time now.
Causes Of Period Pain
Period pain happens when the muscular wall of the womb tightens . Mild contractions continually occur in your womb, but they’re usually so mild that most women cannot feel them.
During your period, the wall of the womb starts to contract more vigorously to help the womb lining shed as part of your period.
When the wall of the womb contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining your womb. This temporarily cuts off the blood supply and oxygen supply to your womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain.
While your body is releasing these pain-triggering chemicals, it’s also producing other chemicals called prostaglandins. These encourage the womb muscles to contract more, further increasing the level of pain.
It’s not known why some women have more period pain than others. It may be that some women have a build-up of prostaglandins, which means they experience stronger contractions.
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What Is Menstrual Cramping
The painful cramping women experience during the menstrual period is caused by a release of the hormone prostaglandin. This stimulates the muscles in the uterus to contract. The pain can radiate to the lower back and usually diminishes within the first few days. Other causes of the cramps experienced during this time may be linked to poor diet, emotional stress, thyroid irregularities, or environmental toxins.
The severity of the cramping can depend on genetics, quantity of blood flow, and whether symptoms began at an early age. A persons lifestyle habits may also affect menstruation such as smoking, physical activity, and the use of alcohol and any illegal drugs.
Menstrual cramps may become less prevalent after childbirth, but luckily, we have some less drastic methods and tips for how to stop period cramps below.
Reason For Painful Cramps: Ectopic Pregnancy
The fertilized egg didnt travel to the uterus to attach to the endometrium of the uterus. Instead, it is attached to the fallopian tube, most often in ampulla, ovarian, isthmus parts, fimbria site of the ovary or cervix.
Very often ectopic pregnancy is mistaken for appendicitis. The symptoms of the ectopic pregnancy are severe pain and bleeding. Shall you develop any of the symptoms, dont hesitate to address your healthcare provider.
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You Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten causes serious damage to the small intestine.
Many health care practitioners dont realize that the symptoms of celiac disease can vary, so many people go undiagnosed. In fact, less than half of people with celiac disease have the classic symptoms of GI pain and diarrhea.
Skin rashes, neurological symptoms, fatigue, painful sex and menstrual pain can all be clues that you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Remember, anything that causes inflammation in the gut will cause inflammation in the rest of your body!
The Power Of Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol is a plant extract derived from the maritime pine tree found in the southwestern region of France. The extract contains several potent antioxidant compounds. In one study of women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old, those who experienced dysmenorrhea who took a supplement containing 60 milligrams of pycnogenol during their periods had significantly less pain and needed less pain medication compared to when they didn’t take the supplement. They also needed pain medication for fewer days when they took the pycnogenol supplement. Surprisingly, women still needed less pain medication during their periods even after they stopped taking the pycnogenol. However, women who had low levels of menstrual pain weren’t helped by the supplement. Ask your doctor if pycnogenol may help relieve severe pain associated with your period.
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Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about your painful periods, why not use healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
What Are The Origins Of Menstrual Cramps
Uterus is an organ with muscular layers, and during your period it does a lot of work. Cramps are the way that uterus responds in order to control the bleeding during menstruation. If you are having a lot of menstrual blood or a blood clot, the uterus is actually cramping to expel that.
For some of you, cramps are causing only a slight discomfort. For the others, the painful period cramps can interfere with your daily activities. So, why do period cramps hurt?
Menstrual cramps can be caused by several reasons. Lets see the most severe of them.
Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial cells.
Apart from the pain, other symptoms of endometritis include:
- Cyclic pelvic pain
- Defecation pain
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When To Call Your Doctor
If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps, or cramping that lasts more than 2 or 3 days, tell your doctor. Whatever the cause, cramps can be treated, so it’s important to get checked.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and menstrual cycles. Youâll get a pelvic exam, in which your doctor will use a tool called a speculum to see into your vagina and cervix. They may take a small sample of vaginal fluid for testing and use their fingers to check your uterus and ovaries for anything that doesnât feel normal.
If it turns out that your cramps arenât due to your period, you might need other tests to find the right treatment.