Healthy New Jersey

Periods (menstruation)

Period pain (dysmenorrhea)

About period pain

Period pain or discomfort is typical when the muscles in the uterus (womb) contract or tighten strongly. If you are experiencing excessive pain, contact a health care professional.

Typical period pain

Typical period pain includes:

  • Experiencing pain one or two days before your period or when your period begins. This pain could last up to three days.
  • Relief from discomfort with the use of pain-relief medication is generally within the expected range of typical period pain.

While period pain is common, seek medical advice if the pain you experience significantly disrupts your daily life. A health care provider can provide valuable guidance and explore potential treatment options to lessen the impact of period pain on your quality of life.

Understanding and managing period pain is an important part of reproductive health. Speaking with a health care professional about concerns or severe discomfort will offer the support and care necessary to navigate your menstrual cycle with ease.

Period pain symptoms

Period pain could include:

  • cramping in your pelvic area
  • pain in your stomach, lower back, and legs
  • gripping pain
  • a constant ache
  • headaches
  • generally feeling sick
  • digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation
  • sore breasts or swollen abdomen
  • general pain at the onset of your period

The pain may be strongest on the first day of your period.

Pain relief

If you have painful periods try:

  • Pain-relief medication - such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Anti-inflammatory medication - such as ibuprofen.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Putting a heat pack or hot water bottle on your abdomen or lower back to help relax the muscles.
  • Birth control (the pill) - a contraceptive that reduces prostaglandins and pain.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) - a contraceptive that releases progestogen into the uterus to make periods lighter and less painful.

Period pain caused by other conditions

Period pain is expected, but some period pain is caused by other conditions.


Endometriosis is a condition where uterine-like cells grow in other places around your body, especially around your ovaries and behind your uterus.

Symptoms of endometriosis can vary from person to person. While some people may experience mild discomfort during their periods, others may have more intense and persistent menstrual cycle pain or endometriosis.

If you suspect you may be dealing with endometriosis or are experiencing severe pain, seek medical attention. Your health care provider can evaluate your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and explore appropriate treatment options to manage and alleviate the impact of endometriosis on your daily life.


Fibroids, also known as uterine fibroids, are non-cancerous growths found in the muscular wall of the uterus.

The impact of fibroids can vary from person to person contributing to discomfort during menstruation, leading to increased pain and potential disruption to daily activities.

Seek medical advice if you suspect or are experiencing significant menstrual pain. Your health care provider can assess your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and guide you through appropriate treatment options to address fibroids and alleviate their impact on your well-being.


Adenomyosis is a condition where the uterine lining tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus causing heavy and painful periods.

Talk to your doctor about various options for adenomyosis. Your health care provider will carefully evaluate your unique situation and recommend appropriate treatment approaches to address your condition.

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