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Why are my periods so painful? — During your period, your body makes chemicals called "prostaglandins." These chemicals cause the uterus to contract or tighten. It's the same kind of contraction that happens during labor and childbirth. Contractions during a period are normal. But, they can be painful. The medical name for painful periods is "dysmenorrhea."
Some medical conditions can make the pain during your period worse. The most common one is called "endometriosis." In this condition, cells that should grow only in the uterus grow outside of the uterus.
What do painful periods feel like? — People with painful periods have cramping in the lower belly. The cramps can be mild or serious. You might also have pain in your back or thighs. Pain often starts with your period or right before your period.
Some people also have:
●Bloating (a feeling of fullness in the belly)
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. You can:
●Take pain medicines such as ibuprofen (sample brand names: Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (brand name: Aleve). Start taking them as soon as symptoms of your period begin. Keep taking them for 2 or 3 days.
●Put a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower belly.
Should I see a doctor or nurse? — See your doctor or nurse if:
●The pain is getting worse.
●Pain medicine isn't helping.
●You also have pain well before or well after your period.
Do I need tests? — Most of the time, you will only need a physical exam. In the exam, your doctor or nurse will check the size and shape of your vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries (figure 1). If the exam isn't normal or pain medicine doesn't help, your doctor or nurse might do other tests.
Your doctor or nurse will decide which tests you should have based on your age, other symptoms, and individual situation.
Possible tests include:
●Pelvic ultrasound – This test uses sound waves to make pictures of your uterus, ovaries, and vagina to see if they look normal.
●Tests for infections you can catch during sex
●Laparoscopy – This is a type of surgery. The doctor will give you medicines to make you sleep. They, they will make a small cut (incision) just below your belly button. They will use a thin tool with a camera on it (called a "laparoscope") to see inside your belly.
How are painful periods treated? — It depends on what is causing your painful periods. The most common treatments are:
●Birth control pills, or other types of birth control that involve hormones
Patient education: Menstruation (The Basics)
Patient education: Heavy periods (The Basics)
Patient education: Endometriosis (The Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (The Basics)
Patient education: Chronic pelvic pain in females (The Basics)
Patient education: Pelvic ultrasound (The Basics)
Patient education: Endometriosis (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Chronic pelvic pain in females (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Absent or irregular periods (Beyond the Basics)
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