Home > Health Library > Menstrual Cycle: Dealing With Cramps
Most women have painful cramps from their
period from time to time. The good news is that you can usually relieve cramps
over-the-counter medicine and home treatment.
Menstrual cramps usually
begin right before or at the start of your period. They can cause mild to
severe pain in your lower belly, back, or thighs. Some women also have
headaches, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, or fainting.
Menstrual cramps can cause mild to severe
Menstrual cramps can cause mild to severe pain
in your lower belly, back, or thighs.
Continue to Why?
your menstrual cycle, the lining of your
uterus produces a hormone called
prostaglandin. This hormone causes the uterus to
contract, or tighten, which can cause cramping. Women with severe cramps may
have higher-than-normal levels of this hormone, or they may be more sensitive
Most women have painful menstrual cramps from time to time.
Cramps are more common in the teen years and early 20s. This cramping usually
goes away in a few years when the hormone levels even out. But some women in
their 30s and 40s still get cramps during their periods.
menstrual cramps are caused by a health problem not related to having your
period, such as
uterine fibroids. To treat these kinds of cramps, you
need to treat the health problem that is causing them.
Menstrual cramps are often caused by hormone
During your menstrual cycle, the lining of the
uterus produces a hormone called prostaglandin. This hormone causes the uterus
to contract, or tighten, which can cause cramping.
Continue to How?
Over-the-counter pain medicine and home treatment are often all you need
to ease your cramps.
Do not take aspirin if you are younger than 20. It
has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
Talk to your doctor if you have tried to manage your
cramps with medicine and home treatment but you do not feel better. If your
cramps are caused by a health problem not related to your period, such as
endometriosis, you may need other treatment.
I should wait until I am in pain before I take
medicine to ease menstrual cramping.
Stay ahead of the pain. Start taking the
recommended dose of the pain medicine as soon as you start to feel cramping, or
on the day before your period starts. Keep taking the medicine for as long as
you have cramps.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to manage your menstrual cramps and feel
Talk to your doctor if you do not feel better after taking
medicine and using home treatment for your cramps.
Return to topic:
March 22, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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