When should I seek help for period pain?

Doctor's Answers 4

While having some form of cramps is not unusual, there are a few symptoms that might trigger some alarm for the gynaecologist:

1. There is a history of progressive menstrual pain, that is, the pain is getting more from year to year, either in intensity, or in terms of duration.

2. If there is severe pain that is debilitating or incapacitating, that is, the pain is so intense that it stops you from doing your usual activities. Sometimes, it necessitates you to take medical leave or go to the doctor for an injection.

3. If the bad cramps are also associated with other symptoms such as having an urge to go to the toilet to open your bowels (a few times in a day) or change in urinary sensation during menses.

As long as you feel that the painful periods are bothering you, I would suggest you see a gynaecologist for a review. The main conditions that we are looking out for will be endometriosis, cysts or certain types of fibroids, for example.

Best rgds

Dr YF Fong


It is important to ascertain if this pain has been ongoing for some time, or if it is of recent onset.

Menstrual pain that is progressively worsening, or if your regular painkillers are no longer as effective, would need to be investigated.

If you have not had your pain assessed before, it may be advisable to see your gynaecologist for a detailed examination and pelvic ultrasound scan.

Conditions like ovarian cysts or endometriosis, if present, or treated as soon as possible to avoid worsening of the condition and other longer term complications like infertility.

Many women experience some sort of period pains (dysmenorrhea) to various extents.

In most cases, self medicating with oral analgesia works, but when the severity of the pain does not improve with analgesia, then it is better to seek an early consultation and ultrasound scan with a gynaecologist to exclude serious causes.

it's very common to experience pain and cramp during your periods. More than 1 in 2 women experience some pain 1 to 2 days into their period.

In many women, the cramps become less painful as they get older.

There are good options available to help ease your period pain:

  1. Applying a heat pad to your lower abdomen
  2. Exercise has been found to help relieve cramps
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), like Mefenamic acid and Ibuprofen, are commonly prescribed by doctors to treat period pain, as they can help with both the cramps, and reduce period flow.
  4. Some types of oral contraception can also help to reduce period pain.

It's a good idea to seek help from your doctor if you are experiencing period pain that is not relieved by the simple measures stated above, (such as heat pads), as he can then proceed to prescribe other types of treatments for you as necessary.

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