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What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

Birth control pills may help alleviate Menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps range in severity from mildly irritating to debilitating.
The uterus is part of the female reproductive system.
While some women only experience them occasionally, other women experience menstrual cramps ever menstrual cycle.
Menstrual cramps can cause intense abdominal pain.
A massage may help relieve cramps.
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Menstrual cramps are contractions of the uterus. When a female menstruates, special hormones are released. These hormones, called prostaglandins, work to stimulate the muscular contractions necessary for shedding the uterine lining. As prostaglandins trigger menstrual cramps, they also take the heat for the pain that so often accompanies them.

Though menstrual contractions are not as strong as the contractions experienced during labor and childbirth, they do involve the same muscles. Some women experience menstrual cramps with every menstrual cycle, while others experience them only occasionally. Menstrual cramps can be uncomfortable, ranging in intensity from mildly irritating to debilitating.

It is important to note that menstrual cramps can occur without pain. Some women experience uterine contractions without noticing or with very little discomfort. Many, however, deal with pain each month, caused by long-lasting and intense contractions. The pain of menstrual cramps is experienced when these powerful contractions cut the blood supply to the uterus, leading to a lack of oxygen to the related muscles. Fortunately, the oxygen deprivation, as well as the pain, is only temporary.

In some cases, menstrual cramps seem far too intense to be normal. Sometimes, other conditions can exacerbate or mimic menstrual cramping. For example, a condition called endometriosis causes extreme abdominal pain, as well as severe menstrual cramping. Fibroids can also cause painful periods and heavy menstrual bleeding. Likewise, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause intense pain during menstruation.

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In most cases, menstrual cramps are an unfortunate, but normal, part of life for women. Treatment is typically aimed at reducing discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medications are frequently used to neutralize menstrual pain. Massage, heat application, and other home remedies are often used as well. Some women find relief from physical exercise or stretching.

For a woman who experiences debilitating menstrual cramps, a trip to a doctor is in order. A doctor or other healthcare provider can examine the woman and review her medical history, ruling out potentially serious causes of menstrual pain. If secondary conditions are not discovered, the doctor may be able to prescribe prescription medications for dealing with discomfort or preventing cramps altogether. For example, some women are able to avoid menstrual pain while taking birth control pills. Hormone treatments may be helpful for treating painful menstrual cramps as well.

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Discuss this Article

anon942716
Post 108

I tend to get really bad cramps and I freeze up and I'm unable to move. Is this normal?

anon338485
Post 106

I'm ten and having trouble sleeping. I have not started my period yet but I have pubic hair and at night I sleep only two hours and then wake up in what I think is a pile of sweat. My breasts are growing and are kind of sore. When I wake up, I think, well, looks like it's time to go tinkle, but I can hardly get up. My stomach through my uterus hurts so bad. I don't know if it's cramps for a period or something else. What's wrong with me?

anon330190
Post 105

I've been suffering from period cramps for eight years and when I realised they were caused from dairy intake, even days before my period. I stopped having dairy throughout my period and the cramps have stopped. My sister is the exact same way, and I've tested to see if it is the dairy by having a dairy product and then about 10 minutes later I'll have a bad cramp, usually in my lower back or stomach.

So, if you're suffering from bad cramps, definitely give up the dairy, even a day or two before your period. because your body at the stage also can't digest it very well. I've found that dairy consumption before the start of you period does influence the cramps a lot. Hope this helps!

Another thing is having a hot bath or hot water bottle on your tummy eases the muscle contractions and gets rid of cramps.

anon327205
Post 103

I've read all of the comments on this site below mine and countless other web forums.

My symptoms: For the first seven hours of my period's onset, I am completely debilitated from hours three through seven. I have lower back aches, bowel movements, dizziness, vomiting and I've fainted/become unconscious twice. Some of you say you can have a heating pad and watch TV; I can't even do that! I can only lie in bed, and I can't even talk to others or watch TV!

I started menses at age 13. These serious symptoms started at age 15, and I am 25 now, and I still have the same pain. Since I was 15, I've missed school and work whenever I'm on the first day of my period.

I have a petite/fragile build, so I've wondered if my body isn't strong enough to handle the strong uterine contractions.

A head pad is a must to make the pain 5 percent more bearable, but it is still unbearable. Instead of curling up, I try to keep my abdomen area relatively stretched up, and if I lie on my back, I put a pillow under my back to support my lower back aches.

Taking 600mg of advil the day before and the first day of my period totally helps, but NASIDs tear up your stomach with long term use so I am seeking herbal alternatives.

Taking Motherwort capsules help a little, but I still cannot function. I cannot even do work in bed. I am looking for more things to try.

In the future, starting two days before my period, I am going to take Cramp Bark, evening primrose tea, grind up my own Sweet Fennel Seed and make it into a tea. (from what I've read online).

I've also read about Wild Yam and Black Haw, so I will try those too in the future.

Maximize Omega 3 foods. Avoid Omega 6 foods. Eat pineapple. Eat Vitamin E and B foods. Avoid inflammatory/prostaglandin foods.

anon306173
Post 102

@anon287567: I definitely would agree with the fizzy drink hypothesis. I laid off it the last two months and my period has been much better this month.

anon306106
Post 101

I have to say that changes in my diet do help relieve my cramps. I've noticed that when I've reduced salt, spice and had a healthy diet with minimal processed foods, it just didn't feel like I had my period! When my caffeine intake went up, I started getting terrible cramps.

Maybe it's just me, but this is something you could try that could only benefit you either way! Simple, healthy food and regular exercise.

anon287567
Post 100

@Henna: I personally came across this thread as I was looking to see if anybody else found that fizzy drinks or curry made their menstrual cramps worse, as this is the case for me. I am 27 and have only had menstrual pain since childbirth three years ago, so it's quite new to me too, but for me, these things do trigger my pain. Everybody is different.

anon284254
Post 99

All the joys of being a woman: clean house, take care of kids, work full time outside the home (thanks to the feminist movement), plus I get to feel like my back is broken from back pain every month because of this stupid period. Isn't it wonderful being a woman? Not!

anon277461
Post 98

Everyone who is moaning about not even wanting children but having to go through the pain every month, why don't you just have your womb removed? Job done!

amypollick
Post 97

@henna: I have never found that eating or not eating certain foods ever improved my cramps, or made them worse, and believe me, I've tried everything. Cramps are what they are.

*Sometimes* exercise can help because it releases endorphins, but if you're hurting too much to stand, then it's a moot point.

I've always found the best way to deal with them was to get ahead of them, before they got too bad. Aleve (sodium naproxen) really works for me, but sometimes you have to find what does the best job for you. Take your pain meds when you first get up in the morning, then about noon, and before bedtime. Treating cramps before they really have a chance to get going has always been my method of choice.

Also, get a heating pad or use a hot water bottle. Heat really does help relieve the symptoms. Good luck! I've been there.

henna
Post 96

I am 16 years old, I have cramps during every period for three days. Some people say don't eat cold things or don't eat spicy dishes, that it is not good and that's why you have cramps, but I don't believe it. Is that right?

anon228629
Post 95

I had horrific periods as a teenager: clots, Niagara Falls flow, terrible cramps that kept me out of school. Now that my doc won't give me back my regular pills (I had a blood clot long ago but have been fine for 13 years), they're back. Dear Lord, either someone knock me up or kill me.

briescat
Post 94

I have had cramps since my first period at age 13. Not every month was bad but most were, but they were usually tolerable with OTC meds.The flow was normal and it lasted four or five days.

I ran cross country in high school, but still had cramps. I got on Depo when I was 20. I came off Depo 12 years later in 2006. My cramps came back even worse after the Depo, but the flow was a little lighter and only lasted three or four days. I had a tubal in 2007, and after that, my period changed again. The flow is light and only lasts one and a half to three days. For the first six months after my tubal, the cramping was light to moderate, but then it got severe. It was so bad I would pass out. The doctor gave me Naproxen (Aleve). She said to start taking it a day or two before my period and to avoid caffeine just before and during period. It helped some months.

I started running two or three miles every other day and I noticed my cramps did get better. I injured my foot in April and since I have not been running, my cramps are coming back again. Ugh.

anon212496
Post 93

I've suffered horrible menstrual cramps for the past 10 years. I'm now 30. I recently decided to give up dairy (a month and 1/2 ago). It's mainly happened because there simply is no dairy being served in the house, except for a little cream for a little coffee. For the first time I've had no cramps, a subtle feeling as things move but that's all. I took one ibuprofen twice, four hours apart but as anyone knows, with true cramps, ibuprofen is no defense. I've searched to see if there are any studies correlating the two but there doesn't seem to be anything. After two weeks there was no change (my first period) but now a month and a half later, there is such a difference. I urge everyone to at least give it a try.

The reality is that dairy is insanely difficult for the body to digest and something like 30 percent can't be digested at all and most milk is so riddled with antibiotics (due to savage animal conditions) that, if you're drinking standard milk, you're hardly getting only milk anyway. It could also be as simple as getting too much calcium that then needs more magnesium.

I urge everyone suffering to give up milk and see what happens. Make sure to get plenty of magnesium!

Cheers!

anon205874
Post 92

For all the people on here encouraging others to not use birth control because it does not work are wrong. Birth control did not work for you. Birth control helped me and many of my friends control cramps and regularity. You have to find the right one, though. Many different brands of birth control have different levels of hormones and affect people differently. Try it because it does work.

anon203356
Post 91

Menstrual migraines exist - I used to get them. They are really bad episodes of vomiting/diarrhea, chills, pain, etc. They come on suddenly. Get someone else to drive you home.

Anyway, I suffered with terrible periods from teen years until about age 30. Birth control pills helped immensely, except that I had other bad side effects from them. Eating "clean" around period time, staying hydrated, not drinking alcohol around period time, being overall healthy and probably physical maturation helped to ease the terrible episodes.

If I had known that birth control pills could ease the symptoms, I would have taken them from high school on, but would have had to find the right version of the pill for me. Progesterone only pills worked best for me. I am not a fan of the estrogen in most pills.

Anyway, good luck to all - take your health seriously. And if you can't fall asleep because you are too sick from your period, go for a medical marijuana license - it is the only remedy I ever found to help get some peace in the midst of unstoppable pain.

anon192445
Post 90

Extreme menstrual pain is not normal. Again: Extreme menstrual pain is not normal.

The vast majority of women here describe symptoms of endometriosis.

Do yourself a favor and find a gynecologist who is knowledgeable about endometriosis. Young girls also get endometriosis.

anon187130
Post 89

I started my period when I was 12 and I stayed off for six months and I thought it was normal, so after the six months were up I started coming on normally and my cramps hurt to the point I could not get out of bed and I couldn’t eat. The only thing I could do is drink water, so after a few months of a normal period, I stopped having one every month. It was back to like every five or six months and sometimes it wouldn’t come at all, so after I turned 13, my periods never were regular. I thought it was normal.

After a few years, I got a normal period and it would bleed so heavy and I would throw up so much and I was at a point where I couldn’t breathe so I had to go to the hospital and they never said what was wrong. They just said I had a bladder infection and gave me meds to take and when I took the meds it made me weak and I would have to go home. So I went back and they gave me different meds and I started taking them the next day. I was at school and and I had to take an iron pill because I lost so much blood and the new meds and a birth control pill but I never took them at the same time.

So I took the pill and went to the bathroom, and after I took it, I started shaking and crying like why is all this happening? My doctors finally sent me to an ob-gyn and she was saying my brain is telling me to bleed and I'm saying what does my brain have do with anything, and she gave me new birth control and that didn't help, so here I am, 18 years old never had sex or anything and still going to an ob-gyn trying to figure out why it's like this.

I just started having periods again like two months ago, and I'm still bleeding and it seems like little pieces of skin come out when I go to the bathroom. I never tried the shot but that's like what I'm trying to do now. The meds they had me on never worked. He gave me some pills so I could stop bleeding in 10 days. Well, 10 days passed and I'm still bleeding. He gave me some different birth control and it feels like it's just making it worse. When I take the birth control pill I use the bathroom every five minutes and when I eat, everything comes out, so I'm trying to figure out what is going on with my body.

I know it's not cancer. I got checked for everything and nothing seems to work and some days I feel so bad I just lie in the bed and cry because I'm in so much pain and I don't know why. What you guys are saying about the shot, I'm kind of scared to try that. Since I've been bleeding, I've been through six boxes of pads and I hate it.

I can't wear jeans because it hurts my stomach. Sometimes the only thing I can wear is stretch pants everywhere I go. So can you guys please tell me what you think I need to do about that please?

anon180009
Post 88

I started my period when I was 12, and I'm 23 now. Ever since I was about 14 the first day of my period has been unbearable. I get nauseous, throw up, sometimes even faint, and I can't leave the bed all day. I don't have the health insurance to go see an OB/GYN, but I feel like despite it's severity it's probably(hopefully) normal. It only lasts the one day and then the next four days or so are perfectly fine(really heavy though).

I did take birth control for a few years, from ages 15-18, but I'd advise you not to take it if you can help it. It didn't help much and it caused severe cellulite all the way down to my knees. This also happened to a friend of mine, so it's not just me. I know that shouldn't be more important than reducing pain, but I think most women would rather not have their backside looking like a 70 year old's if they can help it!

Is it really true that after pregnancy cramps can get less severe? My fiance and I are planning on having a child in a few years' time and I'm excited at the prospect of having the added bonus of no more awful cramps!

anon178470
Post 87

When I first started birth control, I got on the Depo shot. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world; it stopped my periods all together. At 14 or 15 I was so relieved to be able to go camping or swimming and not have to pack any feminine products.

I was on the shot for about 1 1/2 years, and when I decided to get off of it, I had the worst cramps in my life! Previously I felt nothing, now it was like 1 1/2 years of pain was being put on me at once. After that, I was on the pill and it worked fine. I had regular periods of five days and it was perfect. Now at 24 I got off the pill because I had a problem with high blood pressure (i was nervous during my "exam") and the doctor didn't want to risk blood clots.

My boyfriend and I now only use condoms even though my blood pressure is now perfect, but now my periods are not normal. They only last three days and my last two cycles I have had extreme cramps! They take my breath away and stop me in my tracks. So do I get back on the pill and risk high blood pressure with possible clots or use these cramps as learning tools and breath through them preparing myself for future labor pains?

anon176154
Post 85

Okay, so I'm 18 years old and have never felt any pain or symptoms that typically pair with having a period. What I'm wondering is- is this normal or healthy? Or is there something all messed up inside?

anon173291
Post 84

I am having my sixth period since i started my first one and this is the first time i have experienced thee cramps. They feel like someone is pushing my lower stomach until it it explodes. Please tell me if each period is like this or will the pain get better each period?

anon172391
Post 83

Extreme menstrual pain is not normal.

Vomiting, passing out or staying in bed all day because of extreme menstrual pain is normal.

There are thousands of girls and women suffering from undiagnosed endometriosis.

Please find an specialist because your pain is not normal and is real and absolutely not in your head.

anon169069
Post 82

My daughter has extremely painful periods as well as very painful scoliosis. Are the two connected? I don't think so, but her doctor recommended that she a product called robaxcet for her back pain. It didn't help her back pain at all but she took it by chance during her period and it really helped her cramps. It's an over the counter muscle relaxant. I thought I'd mention it in case it will help someone else.

anon168321
Post 81

Why can't the uterus just be removed all together? I am not going to get in the religious aspects of why women are miserable every month. First, not everyone subscribes to that doctrine and two, why should every woman on this planet suffer for something that allegedly occurred?

It seems women have no relief. You are worried if you do not see Aunt flo knocking on your door, fearing pregnancy, and when it is a false alarm, bam! Let the misery begin. There should be an elective surgery for a woman who just want to get rid of this useless muscle. If you are not going to bear children, there is no purpose it serves other than making a woman hate life.

anon162789
Post 80

@Anon160573 (79): All women have to suffer through it every month because when Eve picked the apple and ate it from the forbidden tree, then tempted adam with it - that was her consequence. Therefore we must go through it every month also. If you don't like getting your period and you really don't want kids, why don't you get you tubes tied? or an operation to stop periods altogether?

Also, it's not a matter of regular exercise. It's exercising when you have your period to relax the muscles during your period. exercise any other day will have no effect on the pain during your period.

anon160573
Post 79

yes it is true to whoever had said it before: why do i have to put up with this crap every month while i don't even want kids? and exercising, i regularly run 10 miles per week yet i still experience the stupid cramps. reading articles that telling me to exercise regularly really piss me off.

tiff1234
Post 78

I started in sixth grade, and now I'm in 9th. I never really had cramps, until now. I can't sleep they hurt so bad. I feel like crying. Please help.

anon159861
Post 77

The number of god forsaken doctors that have told me "mild discomfort is perfectly normal, you probably just have a low pain threshold."

Low pain threshold my foot. My periods hurt worse than when I snapped a tendon in my ankle. Seriously, that hurt, but my period cramps are so much worse. I take paracetamol and codeine tablets which take the edge off (unlike paracetamol which does absolutely nothing!)

Urgh. So annoying. Sorry, but I honestly think if men had to go through this, we'd have a cure.

And I agree with whoever said that it's dumb that people who don't even want kids have to go through it every month. Urgh. So much hormonal anger. Sorry.

anon158000
Post 76

I was eleven when I first got my period. I remember having very light cramps, although my periods where rather heavy. But now I am 16 and with each period the cramps seem to get worse. I've tried countless remedies but they are always back. They're so bad that I can't even move and I need to lay in bed for a whole day. I get nauseous and I don't want to eat anything.

I'm so sick I don't know what to do.

anon154711
Post 75

A girlfriend of mine suffered for years with severe cramps with no help from her GP. She would miss school every month as a result. Last year she and her husband began to start trying for a family with no success, luckily she went to see a specialist and low and behold she had endometriosis! She went into surgery a month later and a month after she was pregnant. Her son is 6 months old now and her menstrual pains are next to none.

anon153982
Post 74

It's 3 a.m. and I'm sitting here in excruciating pain. I found this site and began to read as a way to do some research and find some level of emotional comfort.

I began my periods when i was 10 years old, and am now only days away from my 39th birthday. From day one i have experienced pretty bad cramping, nausea, vomiting, the whole nine yards. And over the years, I have gone from one "remedy" to another in search of the perfect cure.

Three years ago I gave birth to my daughter and my periods became almost unbearable. I would be standing in the bathroom with blood running down my legs, screaming for my husband to bring me towels to staunch the flow, and off to the emergency for meds. Yeah, the pain was that severe.

What has really frightened me, reading these posts, is the talk about the Depo shot. If you are thinking about having depo, do your research thoroughly! I cannot stress that enough. Please, please go online and research this treatment carefully, and discuss it with a professional.

About six months after my daughter was born, I had heard so many women profess how wonder this medication was that I made a horribly uninformed decision to try it. And it's a decision I'm still regretting and trying to live with to this day.

In my case, the side effects of the drug were worse than the painful cramps. I have never had any problems with depression or suicide, but shortly after beginning my treatments with Depo, I was in a horrible way. Loss of appetite, severe depression to the point where I was so tempted to just hop in the truck and plow over a cliff to end it all. It was a nightmare. And I had the perfect life. The most wonderful, patient and loving husband, two loving stepsons, and my own beautiful children. But I was so miserable. I have always been a very social, creative person, with a multitude of friends and way to many hobbies. But during that time, I lost contact with everyone except my mother and my husband.

I had no interest at all in doing any of my crafts, my writing, even watching t.v. held no joy at all. I forced myself to smile at my kids as they tried their best to cheer mommy up (they're only 5 and 3).

The final straw came when I was up at 3 in the morning, with my period and cramps which were supposed to have stopped, and I was staring at a full bottle of narcotic painkillers thinking that was the only way to end it all. I was floundering.

I hopped on the internet to find out when this miracle Depo shot was supposed to kick in (i'd been on it for almost two years).

Of course, the first site I looked at was from the drug manufacturer, who professed it to be the miracle cure for every woman. But as I looked into more sites, not supported by the drug company, I began to get a very clear picture of what was causing my problems.

Depo is not the cure for every woman! I have many girlfriends for whom this works perfectly. Their cycles either slowed or stopped completely, with absolutely no side effects whatsoever. But, I was one of the few who had many, close to all of the possible side effects: increased blood flow, blood clots and moderate to severe depression, and the list goes on.

This is a message for all the young girls out there, thinking that Depo could be the miracle cure you're looking for.

Do your research – not just from the company that makes it, but also public health forums and chat boards such as this.

Know and understand all the possible side effects of this drug. If you are unclear about any of the side effects, make an appointment with a doctor who is familiar with the drug. Ask questions and if you have to, write the answers down.

If you decide to try it, monitor yourself very carefully. Keep a diary of any changes in your body and mind. If you think you might be having some of the side effects, talk to your mom or a close relative, and get to your doctor right away.

I'm not posting this message to frighten you, nor am I slamming Depo. As I said before, many of my friends are on it and they are perfectly fine. I just don't want you to make a silly decision like I did. I figured that since my friends were on it, it would work the same for me as it did for them. I was horribly wrong. I didn't do the proper research, made an uninformed decision and am still paying the price for it three years after having terminated treatments. It took a while, but after having stopped the treatments, the worst of the psychological side effects ceased. I am no longer depressed or suicidal and have returned to my old life and habits.

Before you make a decision, get the right information from the right source and don't be afraid to get a second opinion, if you are not comfortable with the first, second or tenth professional you try. Don't give up! Be safe, be careful, and above all, be smart. Do your research before you make your decision. --Stacey

anon153657
Post 73

I agree with one of the comments on here: if men had to go through this every month, there would be a cure by now for sure.

I have to say, i am absolutely pissed at the fact that i don't even want kids, but still have to go through this crap every month. Bleeding, i can deal with. Abdominal pain? No. It's horrible.

We already have to go through the horror of having kids. Pain every month is really pushing it. The closest thing men have to experience is a kidney stone, and that's what -- once in their lives? I think i speak for all when i say that every new month, all females wish for a sex change. Forget you, periods.

anon151217
Post 72

I sympathize with everyone on this forum. I too, experience debilitating cramps and other symptoms related to my period and I want to say that you shouldn't hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.

My doctor prescribed painkillers for me, which help tremendously. There is no reason why anyone should live with this pain and it is your right to be treated for this condition.

anon147883
Post 71

I started my period when i was 12 and i am now 19 years old. I have had severe cramps since i started, so severe i have even passed out, my hands and feet can go numb and tense and curl up involuntarily. i vomit violently and have bowel movements constantly for two hours but it immobilizes me so much i can barely sit on the toilet and i have to lie over the tub so i don't just fall to the floor and i have to use every ounce of energy to make it back to my bed.

I have to take six ibuprofen at start time and repeat every three hours with two more just so i can function. Before i started my period, i would get an intense migraine that blinded me and made me vomit like clock work, once a month. After i got my period those stopped but have started back up recently. i didn't know if it had something to do with my menstrual cycle.

I've never seen a female doctor and am terrified of the idea of some stranger looking at me. I'm starting to think it's not just cramps. What should i do?

anon147806
Post 70

Oh man. I started my period when I was 10. I'm 15 now and I hardly had cramps until about a year or two ago. All of a sudden one day it was just so intense that I couldn't even handle it. I ended up throwing up. I've been throwing up every period ever since then.

I usually get the cramps for an hour or two and then I throw up. It's disgusting, but the good thing about it is that once I throw up the cramps become either mild, or they just stop altogether.

anon139795
Post 69

I've had problems with my period from the beginning. I first got it when I was twelve, and it wasn't that bad. Then it went away for eight months and came back right after I turned 13. After that, it would come every few months with minor cramps. I could feel them and it was uncomfortable, but no big deal.

I'm 15 now, and my periods are coming more regularly now. However, the cramps are getting progressively worse. It's January, and for every month since last June, I have ended up rolling on the floor, crying my eyes out. Midol doesn't work anymore, and even two Ibuprofen aren't strong enough. The only thing that works is laying down with heating pads.

It's not only my stomach; the pain goes down into my thighs. I don't know how to handle it and I feel like I'm giving birth or something. I have relatives on my mom's side who have had endometriosis. Could I have it, or are these just normal cramps. I hate being on my period because, once the cramps start, I can't do anything.

anon138152
Post 68

I started my period when I was 9, almost 10. I didn't have cramps at all until I was about 13. They were mild then and by the time I was 14 they were horrible. The pain only lasted the first day. They hurt so bad sometimes I wonder if I will die from them.

I am 21 now and in the last year they have gotten progressively worse. Now they are extremely severe and last between two and four days every month. Sometimes my periods even come a few days early.

I'm having really bad cramps right now, and it hurts so bad I can't stop crying. I also become extremely cold each cycle. On both sides of my family, the women have a history of having tumors and once they are removed the period cramps stop.

I have noticed that if I don't eat much before my period and if I try to keep my bladder and bowels empty it's not as bad. The problem with that is sometimes my period comes early anywhere between 1-7 days early. Do you think I might have tumors? Should I see a doctor?

MerryV
Post 66

I started my period when I was about 15 1/2. From that first period, and for years, the pain I endured was absolutely terrible. When I say, 'terrible', it doesn't even come close to describing the misery I had to endure.

The cramps were all-consuming and intense to the point of incapacitation. They radiated from the abdomen around to my back up my spine to my neck. Even the Kegel muscles throbbed incessantly and the pain radiated into the vulva and down my inner thighs. God Almighty! I'd be literally confined to bed in a pool of sweat, moaning and biting my pillow for a minimum of the first two to three days. It'd ease up but after that, the flow was always incredibly heavy and the whole show lasted an average of eight days!

Oh, and making things even more 'special' was how irregular my cycle was. I never knew when it was coming. Two to three months apart was average, and the longest was nearly six months!

When I began using birth control in the late 70's, the pain began to be less and less of an issue. Interestingly, I had no trouble becoming pregnant, and my pregnancies were a pleasure. After having children, those nightmarish periods never returned.

I'm menopausal, now, but I often wonder what caused all that in my youth.

anon129645
Post 64

I had my first cycle when i was 14. I didn't have any problems until the age of 17. The pains were not that bad, just aggravating i could say, but as the months went by the pains got worse and worse. They got to the point where i couldn't walk because my legs were shaking and aching. I also would break out into a cold sweat, all i did was ball up and cry.

My mother tried it all: heat, hot cocoa or tea, hot baths, over the counter medicine but nothing in the world seemed to help at the time.

My mother finally made me an appointment with a gynecologist in birmingham. When i got there he did tests and everything. I found out that the pains were coming from a bacteria infection caused by the type of tampons i was using. He prescribed an antibiotic and pain medicine for the cramps called naproxen. It really helped me. Once the infection was gone i still had severe cramps. So i continued to take my pills.

On my 18th birthday my cycle came on. It was a terrible day. I couldn't enjoy it for nothing. So i tried everything. The only thing that started helping was exercise. Since then i haven't cramped really. If i did they were very mild. Now that i am 21 and i had my first baby six months ago, I haven't had another cramp. I am cramp free! Sometimes i forget that i am on my cycle. I thank everyone who helped me with my cramping. And i hope everyone on here can find some way to help with their intense cramps.

anon129616
Post 63

For people who have trouble swallowing pills (or anyone who wants an easier pill popping experience) I would highly recommend Motrin (make sure to get the orange "oval"-shaped one) and Aleve Gel Caps (they are about the same size as the Motrin pills, are yellow/white, and have a coating for easier swallowing). I have a swallowing disorder (not sure what it is) and these pills are the only sized pills that I can swallow. I don't even realize that I've swallowed them.

They work because they are NSAIDs a.k.a. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories (Motrin is "ibuprofen" and Aleve is "naproxen sodium"). These things fight inflammation, which is the root issue when it comes to menstrual cramps. Tylenol ("acetaminophen")is not an NSAID and it does not fight inflammation. It only fights pain and that is why it might not work for you. (Though if it does, stick with it because it's a lot safer than NSAIDs).

Depending on your body, one NSAID might be better than another. You will have to find out on your own. (Do not mix different NSAIDs though; Try a different one each period).

I prefer Aleve/Naproxen Sodium because it lasts much longer than Motrin/Ibuprofen. (12 hours vs. four to six hours). To my body, Aleve feels the same as Motrin does.

Try to feel when your body tells you that your period is starting and take the pills right then. Take your pills on schedule (i.e. remember the time you first take your pills and remember the time you need to take the next batch). I cannot stress that enough. If your period comes around like clockwork, I highly recommend taking your pills the day before your period starts. You might be able to short circuit the whole pain process.

Make absolutely sure to eat something immediately before or after taking the pills (I like bread, tuna, crackers, cereal, applesauce, bananas, etc.) and drink a glass of water. If you can stomach milk during your period, you can just pop the pill in your mouth and chase it down with milk. You must eat food/drink water or drink milk or you might get stomach problems. You don't want pill problems on top of menstrual problems.

If these pills don't work you might want to try birth control pills. I had diarrhea on the first day, a slow flow, and seven to eight day periods before I tried birth control at age 17. (I had Yasmin and then Yaz, respectively) My diarrhea disappeared, the "flow" of my period was faster, and my periods only lasted three or four days. Even after I stopped BC at 22, my periods were a lot better. I just have to make sure to take the maximum dose right when my period starts and to take my pills on schedule.

I make sure to drink plenty of water and I try to eat tuna, cereal, yogurt, bananas, pineapples (pineapples have bromelain, which helps with cramps), etc. My diet is pretty bad (actually worse than when I had really bad cramps) and I don't exercise, so my relatively easy cramps are a testament to my body changes (which could be natural) and the NSAIDs I take.

I would highly recommend permanently carrying a bottle of pills and a little snack at all times when in a public place just so you are always prepared. Also, put a bottle of pills, a glass/bottle of water, and a little snack on your nightstand around the time when your period is scheduled to begin. That way, if your period starts when you are sleeping and you start cramping something awful, you don't have to worry about moving around much to get everything you need.

Good luck, ladies. To the younger ones, your period might get better over time. I've read that periods can get really bad in the late teens and early twenties, but much better in the mid-twenties so don't give up hope that your period will improve.

anon129268
Post 62

i got my period right before my 12th birthday (on valentines day, how charming) and I'm going to be 26 in a few months, which is annoying, since my breasts never held up their end of the puberty bargain and started to grow.

My periods were mild, but when I became vegan they almost completely went away. (I should note when i became vegan and started eating really well- mostly fruits, vegetables, high protein / fat, nothing processed and whole grains/high fiber). so maybe look into diet and your cycle, if that could be a factor.

Anyway, it's been quite some time, and the cramps are getting worse. Now i will get nauseated and if i move i will throw up. my heart starts pounding and my heart rate goes up when i move a short distance! i used to not take medicine, but i will take something now.

i am thinking of going to my gynecologist now since it gets worse and worse.

anon129026
Post 61

I'm 13 but I've had my period since i was 11 and i have extreme pain when i get it and about the only thing i can do is lie in bed with some gravol and tylenol balling my eyes out until the pills kick in.

I'm not allowed to take birth control pills because i know from what i read most people do that. it's like the worse pain who can ever get (besides childbirth, which of course i have not experienced) but i find it odd that i have all this severe pain but have barely any blood flow? like there's just not much blood when i get it, but i also find that it's worse when i get it at six weeks than five because that's when i normally get it so that's weird but i think it may have something to do with that.

I'm only like 4'10 and I'm really skinny so if you can give me any answers or info about that please post. that would be very helpful!

anon121515
Post 60

I first got my period when I was only 9 years old. I am now 23. I've always had terrible cramps. I remember being sent home from school for vomiting in the nurse's office. I went on birth control for a while and it helped with the heavy flows. But now that I'm off it, the amount of blood makes me sick to see. (I go through a super tampon in only two hours).

My cramps resonate into my ankles, and I don't feel like doing anything but sitting down with a bag of chips. Usually I can't even watch tv because of a migraine.

I use a heating pad on my belly (the ones that vibrate/massage are excellent!) I take Ibuprofen for cramps, and Excedrin for the migraines.

anon120743
Post 59

i never had any pains till now. they are so bad. the pain is just way too much. it's impossible to move a muscle.

anon119688
Post 58

Vitamin K, a.k.a. Nattokinasse/Fibrovan was key for me. Fibrovan helps with clots. I would like to know if somebody else is trying this natural product with good results. It is fantastic for me.

anon119637
Post 57

I'm 16, and I had my first period when I was 12. I never had bad cramps until about a year ago, but they're absolutely awful!

I'm a dancer, and I know stretching and exercise helps for some people, but when I'm on my period it's hell to dance. I feel intense discomfort in my abdomen, a burning ache in my lower back and my legs cramp up. Honestly, the thing that helps the most for me is preparation. My periods are usually regular, so I just get myself steeled for the pain. Heat really helps me, too. Also, keeping my bladder and bowels empty usually helps.

Last month, though, my period came unexpectedly, and it was hell. I was up all night with extreme pain, shaking, and eventually vomiting. I also have been spotting lately between my periods, too. Is it weird that all of this is happening at the same time?

anon112723
Post 55

I first got my period a little late (I was probably 14 or 15) and never had a real problem except that I bleed heavily the first day. Now I'm 18 and it's insane. My mom is just starting to take my pain seriously. I used to miss days and days of high school because of it.

Word from the wise, don't give up. You need to convince whoever needs convincing that this pain is real and it really freaking hurts. My pain varies. Sometimes it feels like my uterus swelled up and there's just no room for the rest of my organs. This pressure causes me to have shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and often chest pains.

Other times, it feels like someone ripped out my uterus and threw it in a blender. It causes me to feel slightly suicidal and depressed. It also makes me think seriously about taking a butcher knife and using what freshman year honors biology taught me and cutting all my baby making organs out. Irrational, yes, but I'm sure a lot of you can relate (or at least I hope so).

I learned much from reading all your comments (instead of focusing on my own pain, yes, I read all of your comments).

The main thing is that everyone is different. Caffeine helps some, acupuncture, midol, or vitamins help others. And for others, nothing helps whatsoever. I fall into that last category. My second piece of advice is to get the person who believes in your pain to take you to a professional. I just convinced my mom to schedule an appointment later this month. Hopefully, I can get in before my next period.

My third piece of advice is not to give up. Try to find that one thing that helps you. And know that you're not alone. Know that every single woman who posted here, who read through the article, or breezed through some comments understands and empathizes with your pain.

anon112627
Post 54

very good knowledge for people suffering from this. one should be advised about the types of food one should take which can give good strength and relief. --sakshiverma

anon111251
Post 53

I started my period when I was 14. At first, I had no pain. Then when I hit 17, I got cramps. At the time, it was just an ache that forces me to sit down and not stand for long periods of time.

By 22, I needed 800 mg of Advil or I feel so miserable that I cannot focus. One dose usually does it. I usually get bloated enough not to fit into some of my pants pants. I also get tired easily. My mother was of no help to me because she and none of her six sisters ever had cramps. It sometimes makes me wonder if I'm missing certain things in my diet because none of my fifteen-some female cousins have cramps either. I'm the only one living in the US.

Strangely, what I've found out to work is caffeine and a lot of it, typically stops the cramps. The dose is about 400 mg of caffeine which equates to two cups of coffee. Caffeine is in Motrin and Aleve.

Heating pad works for me, as well as a very hot shower.

Also, wearing something that compressed the lower abdomen (very tight brief undies) also lowers the severity of the cramps for me.

Anything cold does make my cramp worse, so no ice water, no ice cream, no soda during certain times of the month.

anon105375
Post 52

I started getting severe cramps back in 2006 and its now 2010. i got my period when i was twelve and i remember not having any problems or cramps until i was 14. then i would just take midol to alleviate the cramps up until age 19.

then i noticed horrific cramps from 2006 till now. I've been suffering terribly to the point where i started shaking violently, throwing up and sweating. My muscle cramps in my stomach and back are so intense it leaves me immobile and I can't get up the first day of it.

What has helped me are:

1) taking good multivitamin supplements (from GNC)B-complex, vitamin C,A,E and zinc and B-5, calcium magnesium and vitamin D-3 are very important for period cramps.

2) Exercising at least 40 min a day and stretching out the rest of the day.

3)getting eight hours of sleep every day.

4) taking a vitamin K supplement (if your multi does not contain it) vitamin K is not only good for the skin but for those of you who have heavy menstrual flow and horrific blood clots i recommend it. you'll notice a dramatic change in your period just two months after taking vitamin K.

5) MSM supplement once or twice a day.

6) hydrolyzed liquid collagen (i notice when i take this at night before going to bed, my muscles feel relaxed and joints as well and it's good for skin and hair and eases period cramps somehow, especially that first day of my period.

7) no eating junk food, especially high in salt and sugar foods. also avoid caffeine at all if you can, and smoking.

8) last but not least, acupuncture and natural herb/holistic treatments are the best way to go if you don't want to take birth control or other pain killers. I'm going to get a second treatment with a chinese doctor in my area who's helped many people and women with their menstrual cycles and pain with acupressure/puncture.

i just regret not doing this five years ago and continuing it! would have saved me so much trouble.

so that's pretty much the advice i can give from my own personal experience. i know how bad these pains are. i wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. --hath

anon103052
Post 51

I'm 25 and started menstruating at the age of 10. I started having horrible cramps at about age 12 - it was the type of thing where the cramps would be debilitating the whole first day my period started, but then not bother me the rest of the cycle.

Anyway, I'd have to miss school or go home, and painkillers didn't work like, at all. I used to kind of dread starting my periods, actually, because I didn't want to suffer through those awful, awful cramps.

I started taking an SSRI when I was 18, to treat a psychological problem that runs in my family, and I noticed that one of the unintended side-effects of this was that my menstrual cramps were all but eliminated, especially on that first day. I can actually deal with them on the first day or two by taking Midol or aspirin now, and have them both work (although the Midol tends to make me drowsy, lol). So, there's that.

It's always worth talking to a gynecologist about this type of thing. Planned Parenthood (despite its "reputation") offers free gynecological exams, in case you don't have insurance or a lot of money.

anon102243
Post 50

I'm 15 and I've had my period since I was about twelve, And since my very first time I get the worst of cramps I scream and cry and have to lie down. I can't move or I feel sick,

The only thing that works for me are Ibuprofen 600. Anything else makes me vomit. My pains are so severe, and my mom doesn't believe how bad I get them, just because hers weren't this bad. But my aunt gets it just like me and she said birth control helps, so I'm hoping I get put on the pill soon because I hate crying over this, it's crazy.

I always say I want to die because it hurts so bad. I hope my gynecologist can help me.

Anna112233
Post 49

Long time sufferer here! I'm 38. These are the things that are helping me.

A natural product called Fibrovan is my lifesaver; now my cramps are not extremely painful (you can look it up). I also take Magnesium and Vitamin B1.

This month I'm trying herbs that are supposed to help moderate cramps: Cramp bark, mugwort and black haw.

After reading a lot on the internet I found that menstrual cramps are related to poor circulation, among other issues.

Just going to medical doctors/gynos did not help me. Naturopathic doctors helped some more and especially researching by myself. Good luck to everyone!

anon99287
Post 47

What would happen if you didn't have a monthly period? Would the lining of your uterus just build up eventually leading to explosion of the uterus? (stupid question, i know) But really. This is a for real question!

anon98142
Post 46

I have been on my period for a couple months now. I'm 11, and i usually don't get cramps, however, this time they really hurt. I wanted to sleep all day because they hurt so bad to me, with that being the first time i got cramps. I hated it.

My mom gave me some Motrin, and it helped mostly but i still got some cramps. So I started taking Motrin, I have only been on it for a day, but it helps a little after a while.

I don't really know if my comment has anything to do with this but i was just saying, thanks!

anon96679
Post 45

Only on the first day of my period i get cramps so bad i can't sit or stand or lie down. i cry, go pale, throw up, and can't comprehend anything around me. the nurses at school told me i was the worse case they've ever seen.

i didn't want to leave the bathroom to move because i was in so much pain but they kept telling me i had to get out of there and lie down but they didn't understand. now i have to take an advil the day before i get my period (i can feel the oncoming of cramps, thankfully). Strangely enough one advil every five hours does the trick but i don't really taking the medicine. i guess it's either that or torture.

if i don't take it, and i get into that really bad cramp mode, nothing will help besides like three hours of pain, finally throwing up to get the color back in my skin, and going to sleep. then the next day I'm fine with minor cramps. but weird enough the very last day of my period, i would get really bad pain for like an hour and that was it.

anon87023
Post 44

@21: I agree with you 100%, in fact this is what upsets me the most about this situation. We live in an era where technology is at science-fiction level, there is almost an infinite choice of remedies for any other medical problem (that involves men that is), but for the oldest problem in history there is no remedy.

Of course, it's because it's a woman problem: women have only been doctors for less than a century unfortunately, and before that it wasn't a concern for men to find a solution to this problem as we were supposed to just deal with it, just as with childbirth.

I do not even dare to go to gynecologists any longer because if they tell me there is no remedy I feel like slapping them. It's not that there isn't, it's that they haven't been researching for one. And yet we're expected to do it all: have babies, work, take care of people. What a world!

anon86557
Post 43

I'm 14 and i got my period when i was 12. I don't know if I get severe cramping but my last period I was so sore I was at school and it hurt so bad that i went to the school nurse. She gave me Paracetamol (I can't swallow pills) and sent me back to class. It still hurt so I went back. She was on her lunch break so my teacher told me to stay with her.

When the nurse came back i was so pale and felt like i was going to throw up and all i did was sit on the ground. She sent me home and when i got home i was fine. I got my period today and it doesn't hurt too bad but all i want to do is sit down. what do you think?

anon83375
Post 42

I've never had my period, but i just started getting bad stomach cramps. Are these related?!

anon83008
Post 41

I just got off my period yesterday. I have had one child and my menstrual cramps feel like the contractions before you deliver except the pain does not stop like between labor contractions.

I am bedridden with pain and my flow stops during my period a lot and that is when the awful crampy pain begins until it flows again. I have been to the ER but they couldn't find anything wrong.

I breathe like lamaze breathing and it calms the cramping but if I get outside stimuli like loud music or any load noise it starts to hurt like heck.

If I had health insurance I would opt for a hysterectomy because now I dread every month getting my period. Only one of my other sisters had this problem and me.

anon76673
Post 40

I am 32 years old and have very heavy flow and horrible cramps put you in bed for the day and makes me very sick and so exhausted and even with over the counter meds and a heating pad and the heat patches.

I have blood clots so bad you can feel them come out of you. I wear a tampon and a pad both all the time the first four days of my period --that's when it's so heavy --and still soak through the pad.

I am running out of options of what to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

anon75482
Post 39

So I'm having my period now, and my cramps are so painful. But not as painful as other people said theirs were. Its just I have to lie down, because it hurts more when I'm upright. Are birth control pills the only way to lessen the pain?

anon74425
Post 38

Since i was little I've gotten terrible cramps. Every period i have i am in bed rest for the first day, and can't take medicine because i throw up everything from the pain. I have not experienced one period without staying in bed and puking. However, my period is super light and only lasts four days.

They say the only cure for cramps is birth control, but is that honestly true? Because i really don't want to take it.

anon74095
Post 37

I've had my period since i was in the fifth grade and I'm now 23. My period has always been a light flow for about three or four days but the cramps are torture. About two weeks before i start my period my breasts become really sore and tender then I get a back ache.

The day i start my period i get cramps and my thighs hurt so much, and the second day is just terrible. The cramps get stronger by the minute but I've been able to handle them. i take two advil liquid gels and lie down and i fall asleep. there are times that within minutes all the pain is gone and other times there's just minor discomfort, but hopefully one day there will be a cure for this torture we go through.

anon73794
Post 36

Every time I get my period, I have massive cramps that cause me to lie down in an awkward position to feel comfortable.

Also, I get very nauseous and have urges to throw up but rarely do. I always feel lightheaded, and sometimes can't think straight. I get diarrhea and don't really have much of an appetite.

I had an irregular period and had missed it in December 2009 but began normally in January 2010.

I sometimes have thoughts of suicide during my menstrual cycle, but very rarely does it cross my mind.

Is this a bad thing? What should I tell my gynecologist?

anon71998
Post 35

I first got my period when I was 11, and now, that's about five years ago. I never had cramps until I turned 14, when they hit me hard.

Now I've noticed that I can predict my period easily. I know that if I suddenly start craving food more (I don't normally eat a lot.) and if I start to get chills, I'm due.

I get horrible cramps the first one to five days, depending on the amount of stress I'm under. Over the counter pain killers only work if I up the dose.

I hate that I was stuck with my mother's heavy flow. It's not fun. And it hurts.

amypollick
Post 34

To no. 33: You might want to talk to your mom about your severe cramps. But I had them that bad when I was young, too. I started having periods at age 10. My cramps were horrible. Buy a heating pad and get your mom to get you some naproxen sodium (Aleve). Take one with your breakfast in the morning, one with lunch and one at bedtime. The heating pad can also help relieve cramps. One other thing that helped me was to sleep on my side with my legs drawn up toward my stomach and a pillow between my thighs. I don't know why this helped, but it did.

The key for me was to try to head off my cramps before they ever got started, which is why the Aleve first thing in the a.m. helped. I've been there. Good luck.

anon69971
Post 33

I am 12 years old and I got my period in august and it's march now. My cycles have been good. I always get it when I'm supposed to every month. But wen I do get it I have very bad menstrual cramps. Is it bad that I do because I'm so young? My mom didn't have them this bad wen she was my age. It sometimes gets so bad that I have to lie down and not move and a couple times I almost passed out. Once again I am only 12.

Is this okay? I'm a little scared.

anon68758
Post 32

My pain is nowhere near what a lot of you describe but it is difficult to work through at times.

A couple of things have helped over the years: acupuncture and emotional/spiritual/energy healing work. I was sexually abused as a young child and held a whole lot of the resulting pain, fear, emotions, you name it in my belly area (including my uterus). I guess it's not surprising that the physical act of having my period triggered pain with all that baggage in there!

When I started doing the healing work (even before I could remember the abuse) things started getting better. I have worked with Sufi healers and it has helped so much!

I don't know if this type of healing will help any of you but for me it was certainly a lot better than self-medicating and being flat on my back for a couple of days a month. During the worst of it the advil didn't help, being on the pill didn't help. I just denied the pain and kept going.

I guess at some point treating the symptoms just got really tiring. I'm glad that I found the healers that I did!

anon68159
Post 31

I've been having my period for about five years now and its just starting to get worse. For about six or seven days straight I'll get severe pain to the point where i can't move and usually find myself lying on the kitchen floor.

Is there anything i can do to help? I've tried hot baths, heating pads, tylenol, t3's, aspirin. Nothing works!

anon67496
Post 30

I started having periods when I turned 14 years old. Got my fist period on my 14th birthday actually. Imagine that -- and to think I prayed to start!

Well, when I got in high school that's when the torture began. I used to throw up every period, and after felt a little better. The pain usually lasted a whole day, and the second and third days are much better.

I take aspirin and sleep all day! Reading you girls' story makes me a bit more appreciative of the lack of pain I do have. Hope you ladies get better. Love and Happiness -Amanda

anon67448
Post 29

I get cramps so bad that I pass out from the pain. I bleed so heavy that I get light headed (sometimes) and very tired. My Gyno told me that it's normal.

I'm on birth control and it only takes the edge off. I'm still crippled from doing anything until the pain goes away. Now I'm on prescription naproxen. It seems to be helping a little bit. But there are times where the pain even comes through that (although not as crippling).

anon63400
Post 28

I got my period when I was nine. It lasted about four days and then it stopped. Then two years later I got it for real and that's when my torture began.

My legs, lower back and stomach hurt so much that I have to go lie down and stop moving. My periods last anywhere from seven days to 14. It's awful. I get cramps every day unless I keep myself dosed on aspirin or some other pain reliever.

A few weeks ago it got so bad I fell down on the floor and almost lost consciousness. Did I mention it's extremely heavy 80 percent of the time?

I'm now 14. I'm going to the doctor's soon and I hope to god it works. :/

anon63032
Post 27

hello, I just wanted to say that when it comes to severe pain, nausea, and faintness, i know what you all mean. Mine is so bad I'm afraid of passing out. While I'm on the Depo birth control shot, i don't have periods and so never experience this, but when i get off of it for a while, the periods come back, along with the sickness. My advice to women with severe pain and illness- take the depo shot. I stopped having periods on it, and I love it.

anon62402
Post 26

ibuprofen 800 is a wonderful thing for horrible menstrual cramps. I have experienced painful cramps four days straight faithfully for 10 years now.

anon61774
Post 25

i'm 19 years old and started my menstrual cycles at 12. i have major pains for three days. i've been on birth control since i was 13 and my gynecologist says it's completely normal to get cramps for two or three days when you start but there is nothing i can do about it. i get really hot around my stomach and my feet are always cold so i'm wondering if there's something i can do about the pain.

anon60452
Post 24

i am 24 and recently started getting period cramps so bad i hyperventilate, throw up, and my hands and feet go numb. i have been to the er twice this year. i have an appointment soon with a new gyno. the er doctor thinks i have endometriosis. it's pretty scary! i hope everyone here finds relief!

anon59401
Post 23

I'm 20 and got my period when I was 11. Up until I was 16 or so, I never got cramps. Then all of a sudden I started getting the worst cramps. I've found that if I pound Midol extra strength as soon as I know I'm gonna get my period (sometimes I can feel the cramps starting the night before I get it and I'll take it then), use one of the heating pads you get at the drugstore (Thermacare works really well for me).

If I don't take Midol immediately when I first notice my cramps, it won't help no matter what. I ended up in the ER this past summer because they were so bad. My cramps usually last 1-2 days and then I'm fine.

My friend who's going to acupuncture school told me that she used to have really heavy periods and really bad cramps, and acupuncture basically cured that. I bought some natural cramp medicine at Whole Foods that I'm going to try out next time. Good luck everyone!

anon58329
Post 22

I am 29 years old and got my period when I was 11. At that time, I always had my period 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I ended up on birth control for the first time at age 12. It didn't work.

By the time I turned 19 everything got worse and very scary. Not only did I have debilitating cramps but with those cramps I had blood clots the size of my fist. I started going to the gynecologist and saw several specialists, but they found nothing! I'm now 29 and have been on five different birth controls, four of which I've been on in the last two years.

I spot and have cramps so bad, that I usually miss out on a lot of fun things because it's still constant. Birth control is a losing battle for me.

My mom has told me to get it over with and get a hysterectomy so that I can live my life, instead of being in my bed so much. Half the time I'm asleep, curled in a ball with a heating pad, ibuprofen and lots of movies to watch in bed. So, I recommend anyone, to push your doctor or gynecologist and get them to go forth with as many exams as possible to help you and figure out what is wrong.

I still don't know what's wrong with me and I've been dealing with this for 18 years. I'm ready to be done and don't care if I can't ever have kids. ~Melissa

anon58085
Post 21

You know ladies, its really sad when its 2010, and women are researching "debilitating menstrual pain" and the consensus is "take advil, avoid caffeine, use a heating pad ... a warm cup of chamomile tea can help ... birth control may help ... we could rip out your uterus ... that might help..."

Is that really the best the medical establishment can come up with? Seriously?

I'm 29 and have gone through this torture since I was 11! I have to pound pills and get drunk to manage it.

If men went through this, it would have been resolved 100 years ago!

anon57400
Post 20

I got my period when I was twelve, and now I'm sixteen. When I first got it, the cramps were bearable, but now, for the first day or so, they're horrific most of the time.

The only thing that really helps is if I curl up in my bed and sleep. Oftentimes, I cannot even move. This morning, I was at the nurse's office to call my mom to pick me up, and I unintentionally began to cry. I’m not one to be witnessed crying, but I did cry. This has been happening for well over a year.

anon57385
Post 19

When I get my period,I also only get pain on the first day-- usually for the whole day, unless I have work obligations and then I can somehow turn it off, but not all the time.

My pain hurts a lot, but almost instantly after a jut of pain, I feel a cloud of numbness come over me. I can still feel the pain, but I feel knocked out and in pain at the same time. It's impossible for me to concentrate or be useful. The only thing I can do is sit and feel that dull stabbing in my abdomen and thighs.

anon57101
Post 18

i have debilitating cramps for the first day of my period. my periods are never normal and since i got a tubal they are even more erratic and i have gone up to two months without a period.

then shortly before i finally start my period i not only get the cramps but back pain so bad i cannot breathe unless i am laying or sitting still. if i so much as twitch it takes my breath away. Then a few days after my period is over. it just goes gradually goes away.

I'm thinking i should go see a doc one of these days. -cursed

anon55679
Post 17

The day before my period I definitely notice I get emotional really easy and short little cramps that just knot real quick and go away. So I always know when its coming.

Then on the actual day I get my period right when it starts I get bad cramps for like one to two hours straight. During that time I can feel my stomach pelvic area contracting. I only thing that helps is heat.

I use a heating pad or buy those stick on ones if I can not make it home. After those terrible one to two hours of pain I am fine the rest of my period. I got my period when I was 11 and I am now 21 and I have always had cramps like that. Also sometimes during that hour or so of cramps and discomfort, I have to go to the bathroom and experience softer stool? I am so happy when that first day is over!

anon55451
Post 16

I get the worst period pain on the first day of my period; it is crippling and I can barely move.

I have spent many a time curled up in a ball with hot water bottles. Pain killers take a little of the edge off, but leave me drowsy.

My husband's gran gave me some lloyds cream to rub on my back and stomach. I was very sceptical, but within 10 minutes, I could get up and go and join the rest of the family for dinner. It doesn't take the pain away completely but it does, in conjunction with normal pain killers make the pain a lot more bearable.

anon52667
Post 15

i started my period at the age of 11. when i got older, like 14, i started cramping it was really bad until one day i experienced what you guys are going through. most of my periods i cramp on the first day and on the last day, but lately, it's just been random days i've been cramping with my period, but my period has been light. but it seems like once a year i get a bad period. my stomach cramps, i have diarrhea and throw up at the same time but this is genetic. it is passed down from family. my mom went through the same thing.

anon50397
Post 14

to any of you ladies that experience severe pain, please check with your doctor. I do, and still do suffer from bad cramps- but I did find out I had a fibroid, possible adenomyosis, and a small endometrial polyp. I had surgery and a d and c to take care of the fibroid and polyp, but still suffer from the cramps. At least the surgery seemed to rememdy my 10 day long periods and they are down to four days.

anon50188
Post 13

trust me, i know what you guys are going through. I too, started from a tender age of 13. I am now 27 years of age and this thing is not getting better at all. It's the worst. i see my periods for five days and three out of those days is pain with hardly any bleeding and a lot of clot blood. I have also asked myself when is it going to end. We need a remedy.

anon49378
Post 12

hello, knowing that im not the only female that experiences this monthly torment is a sort of a comfort. im sort of addicted to candy and i heard candy's not good if your about to start your period. i think this could be helpful.

amypollick
Post 11

When I was in middle and high school, my period pain was excruciating. I had to take four ibuprofen four times a day to sit up -- not to be pain free. The general consensus is that this is genetic and if your mom or grandmother had severe menstrual cramps, you will too. It is *not* fun. You all have my sympathy. Here are a couple of things that help me now. I take two Aleve (generic) as soon as I get up in the morning. Then, I'll take another one about noon and one before bed. I also have a heating pad I use, which seems to help the worst cramps. If you're old enough to be on the pill, that can help, too. It changed my life, for sure. I had 8-day periods and cramps for four days. My cramps are now more "normal" and my period is about four or five days. But that's something for you and your doctor to discuss.

anon49170
Post 10

How normal is it to have pain this bad on your period? I have a lot of the same pain a lot of people are describing here, but it's only very unbearable on the first day of my period, and a little less the second day. I get cramps the day before it starts too. It seems like it just got worse with age, I was fine up until three years ago, but I think it was probably because my periods took some time to regulate. How normal is very bad menstrual pain?

anon48130
Post 9

Hey anon40543, I'm 26 and have also experienced increasing pain and blood loss with my periods over the years. Over the last few years it became unbearable. I was recently diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia. Naprogesic is the only drug that gives me any significant relief. I am so grateful for that drug.

anon40869
Post 7

just to let you all know, i started at 13 and had bad cramps until aged 25. then they restarted now that i am 53. what a bore, but not much to do. i suggest pain medication prescribed by doctor. that is the only thing that works for me.

anon40543
Post 6

does this pain ever end or we just have to wait until our period days are done? i started my period at the age of 13 and now i am 25 years and it seems like the pain is getting worse. I need a solution. I've tried all over the counter drugs even hot pads and they don't work. Help me please.

anon39895
Post 5

I have the same symptoms as anon describes: tender abdomen, lower back pain, aching legs - for 10 years, since I first got my period. My aunt is the only one in the family who also experienced this, and she says it stopped after her pregnancy.

My gynecologist says it's unfortunate, but that everything is OK and nothing to worry about.

I guess we all just have to put up with this for a few days every month.

anon32562
Post 4

People talk about menstrual "cramps". I know what a leg or foot cramp feels like. But the pain I experience at the onset on menstruation is not like that. I just have plain, old-fashioned *pain*. My abdomen is very tender, I feel like I have been pummeled in the lower abdomen (over the location of, I assume, is my uterus and ovaries). My lower back aches as if I had been doing a lot of manual labor involving bending at the waist. My legs ache just like a toothache and each one feels as if it weighs 100 lbs. These symptoms, to me, are not "cramps".

I don't know what other women experience who say they have cramps, but this is what I have been experiencing almost from the onset of menstruation beginning at age 13. Is this normal? Is there any way out? (By the way, I am now 38 and things really haven't changed much.)

Huh
Post 3

Before, during and shortly after my period I have severe pain. I always know when I am about to start because I start having back pain and pain in my legs. It isn't always constant, it will come and go but when I have it, it is like my stomach is in knots, my back feels like it is going to break and my legs feel like they are going to explode. It is the most unbearable pain and I can't even move sometimes and absolutely no medications work to relieve any of my symptoms. I am wondering if I am just unlucky or if it is something serious?

opmom
Post 2

i agree, you should call your doctor. severe cramping could be a miscarriage, or worse, an ectopic pregnancy. do you have a history of endometriosis in your family? i've heard that it can be an extremely painful condition. call your doctor asap!

pearlie
Post 1

I have been on my period for 3 days now and I have had terrible cramping I have tried everything from over the counter ot heat pads and nothing is working. Last night I was up in a lot of pain thinking I had to go to the bathroom and nothing worked so this morning I got up hoping it would be gone and it's not. My whole abdomen is so sore from the cramping what should I do?

Moderator's reply: i'd recommend calling your gynecologist to ask about the pain you're experiencing during your period.

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