While for some women period pain is just a matter of a few minutes here and there, others may deal with it for hours and sometimes even days. Most of the time the pain is normal and a part of the shedding of the uterus lining. However, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
While many women dealing with menstrual cramps use natural remedies such as using a hot water bag, taking a warm bath and drinking a cup of hot tea, others may use painkillers to get the relief.
But what if this pain gets more severe? Read on to know when should you consult a doctor for your menstrual cramps.
What are menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps or period pain, medically known as dysmenorrhea, is the pain that women experience before or during their menstrual cycle. It may last for minutes to days. It is either dull and aching or sharp-shooting. While most women experience this pain in their lower belly, it can radiate to the legs, hips and back.
What could be the reason behind period pain?
The pain during periods is due to the contraction of the muscle wall in the uterus. These contractions are supposed to be mild and helpful in the shedding of the uterine wall. When these muscles tighten themselves, the oxygen supply of the blood vessels, present in the wall of the uterus, is hampered. This causes natural cramping. It is medically known as primary dysmenorrhea.
However, there are some medical conditions which can cause severe cramping in women during menstruation, such as endometriosis (growth of uterus tissue lining outside the uterus), fibroids (abnormal growth in the uterus), pelvic inflammatory disease and ovarian cysts. Women who use an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception may complain of period pains as well. This is medically known as secondary dysmenorrhea.
When should you talk to a doctor about period pain?
Any of these symptoms can be a sign of chronic and severe menstrual cramps which require medical attention. If you are dealing with any of the following, you need to contact a doctor:
- If you have started experiencing period pain later in life
- If you have been cramping for more than 2 to 3 days.
- If the pain is not relieved from your usual pain killers.
- If there is a sudden noticeable increase in your cramps.
- If the pain radiates to your back or legs.
- If the pain is accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
- If you have abnormal bleeding (either very less or excessive) with pain.
For more information, read our article on Period pain.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.