Menstrual Cramps - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps are pains that begin in the lower abdomen and pelvis. The discomfort can extend to the lower back or legs. The cramps can be a quite painful or simply a dull ache. They can be periodic or continual. Pain also may be felt in the lower back, inner thighs, or hips.

Menstrual cramps usually start shortly before the menstrual period, peak within 24 hours after the onset of the bleeding, and subside again after a day or two.

Menstrual cramps may be accompanied by a headache and/or nausea, which can lead, although infrequently, to the point of vomiting. Menstrual cramps can also be accompanied by either constipation or diarrhea because the prostaglandins which cause smooth muscles to contract also affect the intestinal tract. Some women experience an urge to urinate more frequently.

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Comment from: demiladeayo, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I always feel bad when I start feeling that I am ovulating. Because, my cramps are always very bad. I don't feel relieved until I take ibuprofen. But now my doctor told me not to use any NSAIDs again because I'm now battling with gastric ulcer. My pains always walk through my lower abdomen, down to the back of my legs, then the lower part of my spinal cord.

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Comment from: MS, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

My menstrual cramps always begin on the 1st day of my cycle and start out dull and then move quickly on to achy. It feels like having a muscle ache/cramp you'd get in your leg only right in your pelvic area. Sometimes my cramps are preceded by diarrhea, and that's when I definitely know the cramps are on their way. My cramps are pretty easy to ignore, I'm lucky to have them stay in the mild to moderate zone. Only once have they been severe to the point of me vomiting when I was a teen, and it's never happened since then.

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