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Painful Periods.

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Are they normal?


hormone balance and painful periods

Also known as dysmenorrhea, painful periods are very common. In fact, primary dysmenorrhea (which is not caused by an underlying medical condition) affects an estimated 40–90% of women of reproductive age, with the prevalence being highest in adolescents and young women.

While it is common for many women to experience some discomfort during their periods, such as mild cramping or bloating, experiencing severe or debilitating pain during your period is not normal and may be a sign of an underlying condition. Severe or debilitating pain during periods can interfere with daily activities and quality of life. What causes pain during periods? The main reason for the pain we experience during our periods is caused by the contraction of the uterus during menstruation. These contractions are necessary to help shed the lining of the uterus, but they can also cause pain and discomfort, and in normal situations should be a tolerable amount of pain.

Secondly, during our menses and shedding of the uterus lining, we produce inflammatory markers called Prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are produced in the lining of the uterus. Prostaglandins further stimulate the contraction of the uterus and cause the release of other inflammatory substances by the body, which can lead to swelling, redness, and pain in the uterus and surrounding structures. Nerve endings in the uterus have receptors on which Prostaglandins can bind and propagate the release of other inflammation markers that can amplify pain signals. For example, prostaglandins can stimulate the release of the substance P, a neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of pain signals in the nervous system.

Another way Prostaglandins cause pain is by increasing the sensitivity of nerve endings in the uterus and other nearby tissues. This increased sensitivity can make the nerves more likely to transmit pain signals to the brain. Therefore we can see that inflammation plays an important role in the magnitude of pain we experience with our menses. Other underlying causes of severe period pain If you are experiencing severe pain during your periods, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. Some of the most common causes of severe pain with your periods are:

  1. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can cause painful periods, as well as pain during other times in the menstrual cycle.

  2. Adenomyosis: This is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. This can cause heavy periods and painful cramping.

  3. Fibroids: Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can cause heavy periods and painful cramping.

  4. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): PID is an infection of the reproductive organs that can cause painful periods, as well as other symptoms like fever, pain during sex, and abnormal vaginal discharge.

  5. Ovarian cysts: Cysts on the ovaries can sometimes cause severe pain during periods, as well as pain during other times in the menstrual cycle.

  6. Cervical stenosis: This is a condition in which the opening of the cervix is narrow, which can cause severe pain during periods.

Severe period pain is not normal, but also it’s treatable. And if you are experiencing painful periods, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.


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