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Tue, Jul 19, 2022
It’s perfectly normal for your monthly period to cause some discomfort, but it should never be extremely painful. Abnormal period cramps can be a sign of a more serious medical issue, like endometriosis. Talk to a gynecologist if your period has become unbearable and prevents you from doing ordinary activities.
Everyone is different, but there are healthy ranges for flow, pain, and other symptoms. An average menstrual flow is just 30 mL, or two tablespoons, for an entire cycle. The average duration is four to six days. A heavier, longer flow isn’t necessarily a health problem, but if yours changes significantly over just a few months, you should get it checked out.
Experiencing symptoms along with your monthly flow is also normal. Most women have some degree of cramping as the uterus contracts to shed its lining. Bloating is another common symptom. If over-the-counter pain medications don’t relieve the pain, there could be something more serious going on.
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for a painful period. Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by nothing other than normal menstruation, and many women experience it. Secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins later in life, causes significant pain that worsens over time, and can cause cramps after your period as well as before and during bleeding.
If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, there is an underlying cause. It is not simply normal pain caused by menstruation. There could be one or more causes, and they should be treated so that you can get relief.
Severe pain before, during, or after your period is not normal. If your period pain limits your activities or keeps you from going to work, it’s important to find and treat the underlying cause. There are several possibilities:
Other potential causes of dysmenorrhea are congenital defects in the reproductive organs and medical conditions that increase inflammation during your period. This might include Crohn’s disease, a urinary tract infection, or pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a sexually-transmitted bacterial infection.
You shouldn’t have to live with overwhelmingly painful periods. If they disrupt your life and prevent you from fully engaging in activities or being able to take care of normal responsibilities, see a doctor.
A specialist will diagnose the underlying condition by taking your medical history and symptoms, performing a pelvic exam, and ordering imaging tests. You might also need to undergo a laparoscopy so your doctor can better see what’s going on inside your body. They will make a small incision and insert a scope with a camera. This is minimally invasive and an outpatient procedure.
Treatment options vary depending on the underlying condition. Your doctor might suggest changing or introducing birth control or other medications. If those don’t help, surgery might be an option to remove extra tissue or fibroids.
If your periods are unacceptably uncomfortable, reach out to a specialist today. Request an appointment with a North Carolina Specialty Hospital gynecologist for a consultation.
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