This Is When You Should See A Doctor About Your Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual pain is something that many people have just come to expect. After all, it does happen to more than 4 in 5 women, with half of these women reporting that it happens during every single period. However, menstrual pain is more severe for some people than others. While around 36% of women have minimal or no menstrual pain, 55% of women need medication to alleviate their cramps. Even with medication, up to 25% of women have had period cramps so severe that they needed to take time off of work (per Journal of Pain Research).

For up to 1 in 6 teen girls and young women, missing school or work due to period pain becomes a monthly event. In fact, severe period pain is the leading cause of recurrent short-term absenteeism among teen girls, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Since period cramps are so prevalent in general, people with severe period cramps often assume their experience is normal. However, just because period cramps are common doesn't mean that severe pain should be swept under the rug.

Why and when you should see a doctor for your period cramps

While it is normal to experience some pain during or even before your periods, severe pain can point to many health problems, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine polyps, and ovarian cysts (per the ACOG).

For this reason, the ACOG recommends keeping an open dialogue with your gynecologist about any period pain you experience. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is especially important if your menstrual cramps interfere with your daily life on a monthly basis, if your symptoms worsen progressively, or if you suddenly start suffering severe cramps after the age of 25. Dr. Melani Harker of the University of Utah adds that you should consult your doctor if the pain radiates into your back or down your leg.

Talking to your doctor about severe or otherwise abnormal period pain will help you get to the root of your symptoms. It will also open the door to treatments that will not only make your cycles more manageable but also prevent complications in the future.