What causes interval ache? Learn extra about interval ache signs and tips on how to alleviate them.

For some, interval ache is a light expertise each month. But for others, its depth can mount to disagreeable extremes.

Let’s discover frequent menstrual signs—adopted by what helps interval ache— so you possibly can acquire higher management over your physique and well being every month.

Is interval ache regular?

We’ve been taught that the place there’s ache, there’s normally an issue. So it’s comprehensible when you fear about interval ache, which is often known as dysmenorrhea.

But right here’s some excellent news: According to the Mayo Clinic, menstrual cramps don’t trigger different well being problems.

Fahimeh Sasan, MD, the founding OB-GYN of Kindbody in NYC, concurs, explaining that interval ache is kind of frequent. “Someone who has painful periods doesn’t need to immediately worry that they have a major medical issue,” she reassures us.

How frequent is menstrual ache?

Up to 25 to 50 p.c of grownup ladies (and about 75 p.c of youngsters) expertise menstrual ache. Of these ladies, 5 to twenty p.c reported ache extreme sufficient to forestall them from taking part in on a regular basis actions.

Further, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists additionally experiences that “more than half of women who menstruate have some pain for one to two days each month.”

In different phrases, sure: Period ache is regular, and it doesn’t essentially imply that you’ve got an underlying well being situation.

Woman in bed with cramps and throbbing from symptoms of period pain

Common Symptoms of Period Pain

There are a number of frequent methods by which ladies expertise dysmenorrhea, together with:

  • ache within the decrease stomach, decrease again, and/or thighs
  • ache that’s both steady or ebbs and flows
  • discomfort a number of days previous to menstruation or strongest throughout the first 24 hours

There may additionally be a handful of different signs that accompany bodily ache, corresponding to:

  • fatigue
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • unfastened stools
  • bloating
  • vomiting
  • breast tenderness

What causes interval ache?

Now, for the basis reason behind interval ache: Women who expertise menstrual ache produce extra prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are hormones which can be vital to the physique’s inflammatory system. If you narrow your finger or have a chilly, for instance, prostaglandins could induce ache, fever, and/or irritation to assist your physique heal.

But these hormones additionally play an necessary position within the menstrual cycle. You could know that menstrual bleeding is attributable to repeated, delicate uterine muscle contractions which assist to shed the uterine lining—and prostaglandins set off these contractions.

But in case your physique overproduces prostaglandins, these contractions turn out to be stronger and fewer delicate. As a outcome, you’re feeling extra ache.


It’s necessary to grasp that there are two sorts of menstrual ache.

1. Primary Dysmenorrhea

Primary dysmenorrhea is regular and doesn’t signify a bigger well being concern. It’s attributable to uterine contractions which may be sturdy sufficient to induce ache.

This sort of interval ache normally begins shortly after a younger girl will get her first interval, and will decline after the age of 30. Symptoms usually final not more than three days from the start of menstruation.

2. Secondary Dysmenorrhea

Conversely, underlying well being situations (corresponding to endometriosis or fibroids) could trigger secondary dysmenorrhea.

This sort of interval ache usually heightens with age and will last more than three days.

Woman holding tampon and pad in bathroom while on her period

What helps interval ache?

Regardless of the kind of interval ache you expertise, there are various choices for remedy that ought to considerably alleviate discomfort.

Just understand that selecting therapies that concentrate on the reason for the ache (i.e., the overproduction of prostaglandins) usually tend to lead to everlasting and longer-lasting modifications.


According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), 90 p.c of ladies who use hormonal contraception capsules expertise a lower in menstrual ache.

Dr. Sasan notes that different hormonal contraceptives may additionally assist cut back interval ache. However, particularly for ache aid, she cautions in opposition to the copper IUD, which can make durations longer and extra painful.

Hormonal contraception eases interval ache as a result of it suppresses the conventional menstrual cycle and initiates a non-ovulatory cycle.

Anti-Inflammatory DIETs

Looking for a extra holistic method to managing interval ache? The PCRM says you possibly can cut back dysmenorrhea at virtually the identical fee as hormonal contraception by way of an anti-inflammatory weight loss program.

This mechanism has to do along with your physique’s manufacturing of estrogen.

Animal merchandise, processed meals, and refined oils can stimulate the manufacturing of extra estrogen. As a outcome, it could create a thicker uterine lining than regular, which then requires your physique to supply additional prostaglandins to interrupt it down.

As we noticed above, prostaglandin overproduction causes stronger contractions, which then contributes to ache.

While quite a lot of anti-inflammatory diets exist, they often prioritize consuming quite a lot of:

  • greens
  • fruits
  • legumes
  • entire grains
  • nuts

Simultaneously, it is best to lower your consumption of:

  • animal merchandise
  • added vegetable oils
  • unhealthy fat
  • refined grains

Two female friends walking in the park to get light exercise to help stop period pain naturally


Exercising advantages our our bodies in some ways, certainly one of which incorporates ache aid.

When we train, our our bodies launch endorphins that change the best way we expertise ache. Simply put, the extra endorphins our our bodies produce, the much less ache we really feel.

To get your endorphins flowing, goal to interact in cardio exercises, corresponding to:

  • strolling
  • jogging
  • leaping rope
  • biking
  • Zumba
  • swimming


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, are significantly helpful for relieving interval ache as a result of they cut back the manufacturing of prostaglandins.

Plus, the facility of NSAIDs doesn’t cease there: They may additionally assist cut back menstrual stream by as much as 20 to 30 p.c.

Dr. Sasan recommends taking 600 milligrams each six hours—and proper timing is important, as effectively. “I encourage women not to wait until their pain is a 10 out of 10,” she advises, however quite on the onset to forestall it from getting worse.

Additional Ways to Reduce Period Pain

  • dietary supplements, corresponding to dong quai and chasteberry
  • sleep (lack of sleep could make us extra delicate to ache)
  • stress-reduction strategies (stress can enhance menstrual ache)
  • acupuncture
  • acupressure
  • topical warmth

Final Thoughts

If interval ache is disrupting your life otherwise you’re involved that it might sign a better well being concern, Dr. Sasan recommends checking in along with your physician.

She additionally explains what to anticipate when talking along with your gynecologist about interval ache.

The very first thing your physician will do is evaluate your signs, menstrual cycle, and ache historical past. Second, she says they’ll carry out an analysis, “which may include a pelvic exam and sonogram to rule out any other issues.” Lastly, your physician will talk about remedy choices to seek out one thing you’re feeling comfy with.

The most necessary factor Dr. Sasan desires everybody to recollect is to not endure in silence. There are many out there choices to alleviate interval ache, and she or he desires everybody to really feel empowered to seek out the appropriate match for themselves.