What Does It Feel Like When You Have Menstrual Cramps?

Menstrual cramps are cramping pains in the lower abdomen that occur during your menstrual cycle. During menstruation, hormone-like lipids known as prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract in order to shed its lining every month. According to Greatist, this can be painful and cause what we refer to as menstrual cramps. Generally speaking, menstrual cramps begin as soon as you start bleeding and are most painful when the bleeding is at its heaviest. However, it's not uncommon to experience cramps a few days before the start of your period. 

As it turns out, everyone experiences menstrual cramps differently. In fact, cramps can vary in intensity from person to person. While some may experience very painful menstrual cramps, others may feel only mild pain or discomfort. Menstrual cramps can also be made worse by other factors and underlying conditions, like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, cervical stenosis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But what exactly do menstrual cramps feel like?

Menstrual cramps can range in severity

According to experts at Healthline, menstrual cramps can range in severity and should only last a few days. When your uterus contracts and relaxes, you may experience sharp or poking pain, an aching or tight feeling, and mild to severe stomach ache. Some people may also experience back pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and headaches. While cramps can certainly be painful, they shouldn't cause any major disruptions to your everyday life.

If your cramps are so painful that you have to stay home from work or school, you should talk to your doctor. You might also want to go see a doctor or health care provider if your menstrual cramps worsen after the first few days of your period or if you suddenly start experiencing more painful cramps after you reach the age of 25. Your doctor will most likely perform a pelvic exam to find out if you have an underlying condition that could be worsening your cramps. To help reduce your menstrual cramps, you can take over-the-county pain relievers or apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen.