Menstrual Pain
Why Your Cramps Hurt More Than UsualWhy Your Cramps Hurt More Than Usual

Why Your
Cramps Hurt
More Than Usual

Is your period pain especially bad? Here’s why it might be and what you can do to treat it.

It’s common for women to experience some cramping with their period. It starts a day or two before their period starts and can continue for a few days after it ends. The pain comes from increased prostaglandins, which trigger uterine muscle contractions to help expel the uterine lining.

Regular exercise can help with period pain.

If you’re suffering from more cramps than usual, or if they’re lasting longer than you’re used to, something else might be going on. If you’re in your 40s, and your period is more irregular, heavier, or more painful, it could mean you’re entering perimenopause. That’s the 1-10–year transition into menopause. Your periods may become irregular and heavier, and your cramps may be more acute than ever. If your period pain keeps getting worse, it could also be because of a reproductive system disorder. Some possible disorders are endometriosis (a disorder in which tissue from the lining of the uterus is found outside the uterus in places like the ovaries or bladder), adenomyosis (tissue from the uterus lining grows in the muscle wall of the uterus instead), or fibroids (growths in or on the wall of the uterus). You’ll want to talk to your doctor to get diagnosed.

Woman drinking tea.

If you have any sudden changes or your period is frequently painful, you should definitely talk to an ob-gyn. Here are some simple tips to help ease the pain:

Bring the heat: To get some relief from period pain, place a HeatWrap like ThermaCare® on your lower abdomen. Put it below your belly button with the adhesive side against your underwear. Also take a warm shower or bath. Even drinking a warm beverage like tea could help.

Take a walk: That desire to curl up on the couch may be tempting but hold off just a bit. Regular exercise can help with period pain.

Give yourself a massage: Grab some aromatherapy massage oil and use your fingertips to lightly massage circles around your lower belly area.

Say om: Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may help you feel better.

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