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Painful Menstrual Periods

Painful Menstrual Periods

Although some discomfort, pain and cramping during menstruation is normal, excessive pain that impacts your daily life (causing you to regularly miss work or school) is not and should be assessed by a medical professional.

In this video, Mr Joseph Aquilina, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, discusses the symptoms and causes of painful menstrual disorders, as well as advice on when to come to clinic.

Painful Menstrual Periods

Causes of Painful Menstrual Periods

The cause of your painful menstrual periods is not always known but some women are at a higher risk of painful periods.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history of painful periods
  • Smoking
  • Being under 20 years old
  • Heavy bleeding with periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Not having had a baby
  • Experienced puberty early (before the age of 11)

Sometimes painful periods can be caused by an underlying medical condition such as:

  • Fibroids (noncancerous tumors) in the uterus
  • Endometriosis, in which cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other parts of the body
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries often caused by sexually transmitted infections
  • Cervical stenosis, a rare condition in which the cervix is so small it slows menstrual flow
  • Adenomyosis, a rare condition in which the uterine lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) made of copper are associated with increased pain during menstruation


If your painful menstrual periods are affecting your day to day life, you should make an appointment with your GP or ask to be referred to a Gynaecologist. The following are red flags for referral:

  • Pelvic or vaginal pain when not menstruating
  • Painful menstrual periods lasting longer than 3 months
  • Cramping accompanied by diarrhea and nausea
  • Passing of blood clots


Sudden cramping or pelvic pain could also be a sign of infection. An infection is serious and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Symptoms of infection include:

  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Sudden pain, especially if you may be pregnant
  • Fever
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge


Home Treatments

The following may help to relieve symptoms until you are able to seek your doctor or Gynaecologist:

  • Massaging your abdomen
  • Heating pad on your pelvic area or back
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Practicing relaxation techniques or yoga
  • Raising your legs or lying with your knees bent
  • Eating light, nutritious meals
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen several days before your expected period
  • Taking vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium supplements while reducing your intake of salt, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar to prevent bloating

Medical Treatments

The medical treatment recommended by your doctor or Consultant, will depend on how severe the pain is and the underlying cause of your cramps.

Medications include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Pain relievers, such as narcotics
  • Antidepressants

Surgery is an option if other treatment options have not been successful or your pain is caused by endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Surgery will be performed to remove any endometriosis implant, uterine fibroids, or cysts.

In very rare cases, a surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) is an option if other treatments have not worked and pain is severe.

Contact Us Today

For an expert opinion on your painful menstrual periods you can contact us today by calling 020 7806 4098 or by emailing

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