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What is period pain?

Period pain is caused by prostaglandins (hormones released during the menstrual cycle) that cause the muscle layer of the uterus to cramp or contract. As well as pain in the lower abdomen, women can experience back pain. Period pain generally occurs on the first day of your period, although for some women it can last longer or start in the days before their period begins. It is usually relatively mild, so that it can be managed by applying warmth (such as a hot pack), or with mild pain medications such as acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen. Pain that is so severe that you need to take time off or take pain medications regularly, or that wakes you up at night is not considered normal and may need investigation with your doctor.

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Author: Kellie Heywood
First answered: 23 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Votes: 1119 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Premenstual syndrome (PMS)


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