Menstrual cramp treatment
Dawn Drewes, APRNTelehealth visit
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Dr. Anna Chacon, MDTelehealth visit
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About Menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps - also known as dysmenorrhea - are common symptoms that may occur with a period. These cramps usually happen just before or during a menstrual period. In many cases, this discomfort will go away after a few days and require little medical treatment.
- Cramping and aching in the lower abdomen
- Pain that radiates from the abdomen to the upper thighs and back
- Feeling pressure in the abdomen
In most cases, menstrual cramps are caused by the uterus contracting during a period. These contractions are the most common cause of menstrual cramps, although some women may experience pain and cramping due to an underlying condition.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): PID is an infection of the reproductive organs, commonly caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
- Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus develops on the outside of the uterus. Endometriosis can cause swelling and pain during periods.
- Fibroids: Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow on the walls of the uterus.
- Adenomyosis: This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus.
- Cervical stenosis: A narrow opening of the cervix can impede menstrual flow, which can lead to pressure in the uterus. This pressure can cause cramping during a period.
Menstrual cramps usually decrease in intensity as a woman grows older. If you experience menstrual cramps for more than 2-3 days, or if the pain is severe, talk to your health care provider. Cramping won’t result in complications, but serious pain may signify an underlying condition such as those listed above.
Most cases of menstrual cramps can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medication and self-care strategies. Common treatment options are listed below. During your appointment, discuss your symptoms with your provider and talk about what treatment plan might be right for you.