Menstrual Cramps Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment


Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, are sharp or stabbing pains in the lower abdomen. Menstrual cramps are a common symptom for women both before and during their periods.

Some females might only find the discomfort annoying. Others may suffer from severe menstrual cramps that keep them from living their regular lives for a few days each month.

Menstrual cramps can be brought on by conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids.

Treating the underlying problem is the key to reducing pain. When they are not caused by another condition, menstrual cramps frequently get better with age and frequently go away completely after giving birth.

Period pain is a regular and common symptom of the menstrual period.

That happens to most women at some point in their life. The most common symptom is agonizing stomach cramping, which can occasionally spread to the back and thighs.

The pain occasionally occurs in strong spasms, while at other times it may be dull but more consistent. Also, it could change over time. Some periods may produce little or no discomfort, while others may be more severe.

Even when you are not on your period, you may occasionally experience pelvic pain.


Throughout your menstrual cycle, your uterus contracts to help the ejection of its lining. Prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances implicated in pain and inflammation, cause the contraction of the uterine muscles. Higher amounts of prostaglandin are associated with more painful menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps may result from:

Endometriosis. Outside of the uterus, the tissue that functions somewhat like the lining of the uterus grows most frequently on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the tissue lining your pelvis.

Uterine tumours. Uterine wall benign tumour might be painful.

Adenomyosis. The lining of your uterus starts to integrate with the uterine muscles.

Inflammation of the pelvis. The germs that cause this illness of the female reproductive system are typically transferred sexually.

Vertebral stenosis. The cervix is too narrow to prevent menstrual flow, which leads to an uncomfortable rise in uterine pressure.

When the womb's muscular wall thickens, period pain results (contracts). Your womb is always experiencing minor contractions, but most women will not even notice them because of how light they generally are.

The womb wall begins to flex more forcefully during your period to aid in the shedding of the womb lining.

The blood vessels lining your womb are compressed when the uterine wall contracts. This briefly stops the blood and oxygen supply to your womb. The tissues in your womb emit substances that cause pain when there is a lack of oxygen.

Your body also produces other chemicals known as prostaglandins at the same time that it releases these pain-inducing compounds. They cause the uterine muscles to tighten even harder, making the agony even worse.

It is not understood why some women experience more discomfort during their periods than others. It is possible that some women feel greater contractions because of a buildup of prostaglandins.

How to check if you have Menstrual Cramps?

Consult a medical professional if:

  • Every month, menstrual pains cause trouble in your life.
  • Your signs get worse with time
  • Around age 25, you only recently began experiencing painful menstruation.

Risk Factors

You run a higher risk if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are under 30 years old.
  • You went through puberty when you were 11 or younger.
  • When your period arrives, you bleed a lot (menorrhagia)
  • You experience irregular periods (metrorrhagia)
  • Your family has a history of experiencing menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
  • Your smoking


Menstrual cramps involve the following signs:

  • An excruciating, cramping, or throbbing pain in your lower abdomen
  • Pain that begins one to three days before your period, peaks 24 hours after it begins, and goes away in two to three days
  • Dull, constant pain
  • Both your lower back and thighs hurt.

Many ladies also experience the following:

  • Loose stools
  • Nausea and headache
  • Dizziness


Your healthcare professional may suggest the following to relieve your period cramps:

Drugs that reduce pain. Start taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) on a daily basis the day before you expect your period to start. There are additional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs available with a prescription.

Beginning at the start of your period or as soon as you experience symptoms, take the pain reliever as prescribed for the next two to three days, or until the pain is gone.

Birth control pills. Hormones found in oral birth control pills stop ovulation and lessen the severity of menstrual cramps. Moreover, these hormones can be administered via injection, skin patch, or an oral spray.

Surgery. Surgery to treat the condition that is causing your period cramps, such as endometriosis or fibroids, may relieve your symptoms. If alternative treatments do not help your symptoms and you do not want to have children, having your uterus surgically removed may be a possibility.

Period discomfort is typically not severe enough to require in-home care.


Ibuprofen and aspirin can be used to manage your pain.

Ibuprofen and aspirin should not be taken, however, if you have asthma or stomach, kidney, or liver issues. Anybody under the age of 16 should not use aspirin.

You might also try paracetamol, however, research indicates that it does not significantly decrease pain compared to ibuprofen or aspirin.

If over-the-counter pain relievers do not work, your doctor may suggest stronger drugs like naproxen or codeine.

Other self-help techniques to try

You might also attempt:

  • Quit smoking as it is believed to increase the risk of period pain. 
  • Exercise is recommended even though you may not feel like it during a painful period.
  • Try gentle swimming, walking, or cycling to assist ease the pain. 
  • Applying heat to your abdomen with a heating pad or hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel may also help.
  • Warm bath or shower: Using a warm bath or shower will help you relax and ease the pain.
  • Massage - A gentle, circular massage of your lower belly may also assist ease discomfort.
  • Relaxation techniques - engaging in peaceful pursuits like yoga or pilates might help you block out pain and suffering.
  • A tiny battery-operated device called transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) applies a moderate electrical current to your abdomen to alleviate pain.

Complications of Menstrual Cramps

Although they do not result in other medical issues, menstrual cramps can be disruptive to social, professional, and academic pursuits.

Yet, some disorders linked to menstruation cramps can be problematic. For instance, endometriosis can impact fertility. Your fallopian tubes may become scarred as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease, increasing the chance of a fertilised egg implanting outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy).

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Page last reviewed: Mar 30, 2023

Next review due: Mar 30, 2025

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