font size


Menstrual Cramps
(Dysmenorrhea)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Menstrual cramps facts

  • Menstrual cramps are periodic abdominal and pelvic pains experienced by women.
  • More than half of all menstruating women have cramps.
  • The cramps are severe in at least one in seven of these women.
  • Medically, menstrual cramps are called dysmenorrhea.
  • Primary dysmenorrhea is common menstrual cramps without an identifiable cause.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea results from an underlying abnormality that usually involves the woman's reproductive system.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat cramps.
  • Physical exercise can help alleviate menstrual cramps.
  • Menstrual cramps tend to improve with age.

What are menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps are pains in the belly and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Menstrual cramps are not the same as the discomfort felt duringpremenstrual syndrome (PMS), although the symptoms of both disorders can sometimes be experienced as a continual process. Many women suffer from both PMS and menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of short duration and are sometimes felt just as a sense of heaviness in the belly. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman's regular activities for several days.

How common are menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps of some degree affect more than an estimated 50% of women, and among these, up to 15% would describe their menstrual cramps as severe. Surveys of adolescent girls show that over 90% of girls report having menstrual cramps.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/31/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Menstrual Cramps - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your menstrual cramps?
Menstrual Cramps - Experiences Question: How often do you experience menstrual cramps?
Menstrual Cramps - Other Causes Question: Do foods, stress, daily activities or other factors worsen menstrual cramps? How do you manage and treat these other causes or triggers?
Menstrual Cramps - Symptoms Question: Please describe the symptoms of your menstrual cramps.
Menstrual Cramps - Adolescent Girls Question: If you are under age 18, describe your experience with menstrual cramps.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/menstrual_cramps/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD