Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.Read more: Menstrual Cramps Article
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Related Disease Conditions
PMS vs. Pregnancy (Differences and Similarities)
Many women have difficulty figuring out if they are pregnant, have PMS, or are about to start their period. The most common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy, PMS, and the start of your period include mood swings, back pain, increased urination, and tender breasts. These three conditions also share other similar signs and symptoms, but there are unique differences between each. Moreover, there are symptoms that only occur if you are pregnant. Early pregnancy symptoms, PMS, and the start of the menstrual period all have common signs and symptoms like mood swings, back pain, and breast pain. Symptoms and signs between the three conditions that may seem similar, but are slightly different include the following: Pelvic or abdominal cramping before or during your menstrual period is normal; however, the cramping of early pregnancy is mild. If you are pregnant, nausea and vomiting, or morning sickness, is common. They are not common symptoms of PMS. Fatigue is common in both, but PMS usually goes away once your period begins. Food cravings or aversions to certain foods are common in both pregnancy and PMS, but if you are pregnant, the cravings or aversions to foods are more specific and intense. You may have spotting or bleeding if you are pregnant or suffering from PMS. When the embryo inserts itself into the uterus (implantation bleeding), you may mistake it as your menstrual period. However, implantation bleeding is much lighter (not enough to soak a pad or tampon) than the heaving bleeding experienced at the beginning of your period. Signs and symptoms that you may have only if you are pregnant include, implantation cramping and bleeding, a white, milky vaginal discharge, and your areolas or nipples darken. The only way to find out if you are pregnant is with a pregnancy test. Home pregnancy test kits are available without a prescription at pharmacies and most grocery stores. Contact a doctor or other health care professional if you think you may be pregnant.
Spotting vs. Period
Menstruation (a female's "period") occurs due to the shedding of the lining of the uterus. Menstrual bleeding lasts about three to five days, and the bleeding is heavy the first couple of days and then it lessens. Spotting is vaginal bleeding between periods.
Why Am I Having Menstrual Cramps but No Period?
Menstrual cramps may happen even without a period. Learn more about menstrual cramps without a period, when they can happen, what causes them, and what to watch out for.
Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder. Endometriosis may not produce any symptoms, but when it does the most common symptom is pelvic pain that worsens just prior to menstruation and improves at the end of the menstrual period. Other symptoms of endometriosis include pain during sex, pain with pelvic examinations, cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination, and infertility. Treatment of endometriosis can be with medication or surgery.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
How Can I Stop Prolonged Periods Naturally?
Heavy periods may be a sign of some underlying health condition. Quite often, heavy and prolonged periods may be a result of nutritional deficiencies. There are a few home remedies for a heavy period. Your doctor may use medication or surgery to treat heavy periods.
Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
Vulvodynia or vaginal pain, genital pain is a condition in which women have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. There are two types of vulvodynia, generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis. Researchers are trying to find the causes of vulvodynia, for example, nerve irritation, genetic factors, hypersensitivity to yeast infections, muscle spasms, and hormonal changes.The most common symptoms of vaginal pain (vulvodynia) is burning, rawness, itching, stinging, aching, soreness, and throbbing. There are a variety of treatments that can ease the symptoms of vulvodynia (vaginal pain).
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends with menstruation. Common PMS symptoms include; depression, irritability, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings. For some women PMS symptoms can be controlled with natural and home remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, nutrition, and a family and friend support system.
How Can You Tell if You're Pregnant if You Have Irregular Periods?
Learn the signs of pregnancy, what causes irregular periods, and when to see a doctor.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Fibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually pain, tenderness, and discomfort in one or both breasts. The condition is very common and benign (not malignant). Fibrocystic breast condition is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" in women. A common symptom of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort. Some women with fibrocystic breasts have mile breast tenderness or pain. Other women with the condition may have very painful and tender breasts with lumpy areas that can be felt. Fibrocystic breast condition is most common in women after age 30, which continues through perimenopause and menopause. Women with the condition often have fewer problems after menopause (postmenopause).Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with fibrocystic without fibrocystic changes. Natural and home remedies to help relieve breast pain include NSAIDs like aspiring, Aleve, and Advil. Prescription medication also may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.
Menstruation (Menstrual Cycle)
Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed. This shedding of the uterine linking is the menstrual blood flow. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. There can be problems with a woman's period, including heavy bleeding, pain, or skipped periods. Causes of these problems may be amenorrhea (lack of a period), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), or abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding. There are a variety of situations in which a girl or woman should see a doctor about her menstrual cycle.
Perimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD has also been referred to as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder. The cause of PMDD is unknown. Some of the common symptoms of PMDD (not an inclusive list) include mood swings, bloating, fatigue, headache, irritability, headache, breast tenderness, acne, and hot flashes. Treatment for PMDD is with medication to treat the symptoms of PMDD.
How Do I Get Rid of Gas Pains During My Period?
Gas pain during your period can be debilitating. Learn what causes gas pain during your period and how you can get rid of it or lower the chances of developing gas pain during your period.
What Are Signs Your Period Is Coming?
Knowing the signs of a period can help you deal with your menstrual symptoms. Learn how to identify the signs of a period, know when to see a doctor, and find treatment for your period symptoms.
Can You Get Menstrual Cramps After Exercise Like Running?
Menstrual cramps affect many women. Learn if exercise like running can cause menstrual cramps and how you can treat them.
Is Corpus Luteum Cyst a Good Sign?
A corpus luteum cyst is a type of ovarian cyst that is more likely to rupture during menstruation. Learn the signs of a corpus luteum cyst, what causes a corpus luteum cyst, how doctors diagnose a corpus luteum cyst, and what you can do to treat a corpus luteum cyst.
Menstrual Cramps and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Treatment
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
What Are the Side Effects of Having Irregular Periods?
Having irregular periods is a common issue that affects many women. Learn the side effects of having irregular periods, the symptoms of irregular periods, what causes irregular periods, how doctors diagnose irregular periods, and what you can do to treat irregular periods.
IBS Triggers (Prevention)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disease that can affect the quality of those who suffer from this condition. People with IBS can make lifestyle changes that may modify or control the number and severity of episodes. Certain foods, medications, and hormone levels may trigger IBS episodes, for example fatty foods, dairy products, eating foods in large quantities, foods that contain high levels of sorbitol, foods that produce intestinal gas (broccoli, onions, cabbage, and beans), chocolate, caffeine, physiological stress, some antibiotics, some antidepressants, medicine with sorbitol, and menstrual pain. Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes can decrease IBS flares, and prevent the number and severity of IBS episodes of diarrhea and constipation.
Second Source WebMD Medical Reference
Pelvic Pain (in Women and Men)
Pelvic pain is described as pain, usually in the lower pelvic area. Causes of acute and chronic pelvic pain in women include endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, tumors, or fibroids, ovulation, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or congestion syndrome, vulva pain, and rarely cancer. Pelvic pain during pregnancy may be caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), preterm or premature labor, and placental abruption. Causes of pelvic pain in men include prostate problems, testicular pain, and groin pain. Causes of pelvic pain in men and women include kidney stones, appendicitis, UTIs, IBD, and STDs. Signs and symptoms associated with pelvic pain depend on the cause, but man include pain during or after sexual intercourse, abdominal pain, distension, and tenderness, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal discharge or bleeding, blood, pus, in the urine, cloudy urine, blood in the stool, stool color changes, and low back pain. The cause of pelvic pain is diagnosed by a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging procedures. Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause.
Women's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and diseases that may occur. Educating yourself so that the transitions into different phases of life is key to a healthy, happy, and productive life.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Disease Prevention for Teens
Teenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.
How Long Does a Hysteroscopy Take?
Hysteroscopy is a procedure performed by a gynecologist to inspect inside of the uterine cavity using a thin tube with a light and camera attached to it. Hysteroscopy can take anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes or longer if a surgical procedure is being performed at the same time. Surgical procedures to treat uterine pathologies can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours as well, depending on the procedure.
What Can Cause Amenorrhea Other Than Pregnancy?
Amenorrhea is a common issue that affects some women even when they're not pregnant. Learn the signs of amenorrhea, what causes amenorrhea, how doctors diagnose amenorrhea, and what you can do to address amenorrhea.
Reproductive health encompasses the beginning of menstruation for women, choosing the right birth control method for you and your partner, preventing contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and for women, ending with the menopausal transition.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
Local ResourcesFind a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Birth Control Pills (List of Oral Contraceptives and Side Effects)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Cox-2 Inhibitors
- ibuprofen chewable - oral, Advil, Children's Advil, Motri
- naproxen - oral, Anaprox, Naprosyn
- naproxen sustained-release - oral, Naprelan
- naproxen suspension - oral, Naprosyn
- ibuprofen suspension - oral, Children's Advil, Children's M
- diclofenac - oral, Cataflam, Zipsor
- nafarelin acetate spray - nasal, Synarel
- ketoprofen - oral, Orudis
- ibuprofen - oral, Advil, Motrin, Nuprin
- Aleve (naproxen) vs. Celebrex (celecoxib)
- Ibuprofen (Advil) vs. Naproxen (Aleve): Comparison of Differences
- NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAID)-ORAL
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- Aspirin vs. NSAIDs (Side Effect and Use Differences)
- Ketorolac vs. diclofenac
- dong quai (Angelica sinensis, Chinese Angelica)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- etodolac, Lodine (Discontinued)
- progesterone (Prometrium)
- vitexagnus castus (Chaste Tree)
- Lysteda (tranexamic acid)
- estrogens conjugated (Premarin)
- Ketorolac vs. ketoprofen
- mefenamic acid - oral, Ponstel
- wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)-oral
- fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- meclofenamate (Meclomen)
- Side Effects of Lodine (etodolac)
- Side Effects of Voltaren (diclofenac)
- blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria, Spirulina)
- Side Effects of Feldene (piroxicam)
- Licart (diclofenac epolamine)
- Side Effects of Vioxx (rofecoxib)
- Side Effects of Bextra (valdecoxib)
Prevention & Wellness
- Do Menstrual Cycles Align With the Moon's Phases?
- Irregular, Long Periods Tied to Shorter Life Span
- Irregular Periods, Shorter Life Span?
- Is Your Daughter, the Athlete, Eating Enough?
- Two-Thirds of Poor U.S. Women Can't Afford Menstrual Pads, Tampons: Study
- Health Tip: Help Relieve Menstrual Pain
- Health Tip: Use Tampons Safely
- Health Tip: Getting Menstrual Migraines
- Could Smoggy Air Affect a Girl's Periods?
- Health Tip: Need Pain Relief?
- Study Ties Teen Smoking to Risk of Severe Menstrual Cramps
- Viagra for Menstrual Cramps?
- Vitamin D May Ease Painful Periods
- Acupuncture May Boost Pregnancy Success Rates
- Some Fish Oil Supplements Fishy on Quality
- New Drug Eases Menstrual Cramps