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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See what others are saying

Comment from: jema, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

Every month I experience severe pain during menstruation to the extent that I collapse. After my menstruation the pain is still there and lasts for a week but not that painful.

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Comment from: Delilah1986, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I'm 29 years old and have had my period since age 12. At first the pain was tolerable and would go away in a few hours. However as I got into my late teens the cramps began to get worse, my face would go pale, and sweating, I'd be up for minutes at a time in the middle of the night. Then when it got intense vomiting happened, afterwards I'd feel sore so to get better I'd take a liquid gel Advil, glass of ginger ale and put a wet towel across my stomach to soothe it. Also exercising seems to take the edge off of the cramps because now they're not quite as severe.

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