Period Cramps

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Seiji Kanazawa

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN))

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People with these symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Feeling the pain associated with menstruation

  • Ovulation pain is terrible

  • Painful menstruation

  • My period is painful

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Content updated on Sep 6, 2022

About the symptom

Menstrual cramps can range from a minor annoyance that lasts a day or two to excruciating discomfort that interferes with daily activities for several days. If the cramps are usually high, causing significant discomfort or associated which other symptoms such as, heavy menstrual flow, irregular periods etc, it could be due to menstrual disorders, uterine fibroids etc.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Intermenstrual bleeding

  • Abnormal menstruation

  • Menstrual abnormality (duration or volume)

  • Low back pain

  • Pelvic pain

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Abdominal pain

Possible causes

  • Uterine fibroids

    A non-cancerous growth in or around the womb (uterus). Fibroids are made up of muscle and tissue and can vary in size. The exact cause is unknown but fibroids have been related to female hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone) levels. They tend to develop during the ages of 16 to 50 and shrink after menopause.

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

    PMS consists of both mental and physical symptoms, occurring 3-10 days before menses. Symptoms start to improve once menses begins. The cause of PMS is poorly understood, but is related to fluctuations in levels of female hormones.

  • Functional dysmenorrhea

    Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period pains. It can be divided into primary or secondary. Primary or functional dysmenorrhea is the common menses cramps/pain that come recur and is not due to other diseases. Secondary dysmenorhea is due to problems with the reproductive system. Functional dysmenorrhea is usually diagnosed only after other investigations (e.g. ultrasound) do not find any abnormalities responsible for the pain.

  • Uterine malformation

  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • Inevitable miscarriage
  • Drug-induced menorrhagia
  • Cesarean scar syndrome

Related serious diseases

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

    A disease where organs in the pelvis such as the uterus become infected. This causes abdominal pain, fever and other symptoms. As the infection can spread rapidly, prompt antibiotic treatment is essential.

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you have severe menstrual cramps?

  • Do you have headaches or does your head feel heavy?

  • Do you have any chest pain?

  • Do you feel pain during sexual intercourse?

  • Do you feel that your abdomen (stomach) is bloated or has a lot of gas?

Other Related Symptoms

Symptoms from the same body system / part

Reviewed By:

Seiji Kanazawa

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN))

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

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