Menstrual cramps - often referred to more generally as period pain - typically occur before and during a period. While some women have little to no experience with period pain, others suffer for days on end with an uncomfort that makes normal tasks seem impossible.

While everyone has a different experience with period pain, there are sometimes a few telltale signs which suggest why some women suffer more than others. Within this guide, we will be exploring exactly what period pain feels like, as well as its causes and popular pain relief treatments.

Common Symptoms Of Period Pain: What Does It Feel Like?

So - how do you know if it's period pain and not something else? The first obvious sign is when you start to experience cramping pains in your lower abdomen around 1 to 3 days before your period is due. These cramps can sometimes feel like a throbbing sensation that can travel to your lower back and thighs, too.

If you’re familiar with your menstrual cycle, then it’s likely that you’ll notice the pain easing off a few days into your period. However, it’s important to remember that every woman is different; some may experience quick bouts of cramps, whereas others may have to endure the pain for days on end.

To round this up, common symptoms of period pain include:

  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Aches and pains in the lower back and thighs
  • Higher levels of discomfort 1 to 3 days before your period

Severe Symptoms Of Period Pain

Severe symptoms of period pain typically refer to experiencing the above common symptoms for long durations without getting any relief. However, period pain doesn’t always just cause cramping, and more disruptive symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you find that your period pain is getting worse and starting to disrupt your everyday life, it is highly recommended to see your GP. This also applies to those who are over the age of 25 and experiencing severe menstrual cramps for the first time.

What Causes Period Pain?

Menstrual cramps tend to occur thanks to the contractions that are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. The higher level of prostaglandins you have, the more severe cramps you’ll experience. Although this might seem like a nuisance, the contractions are important as they help your uterus to shed its lining (which is what causes bleeding during a period).

While not everyone will have a definite cause for their period pain, the following medical conditions are known for causing severe menstrual cramps:

Endometriosis: This is a condition that is diagnosed when your uterus’ tissue lining sits outside of it. In most common cases, this tissue sits on your ovaries or fallopian tubes instead. You can learn more about this here.

Cervical Stenosis: If you have Cervical Stenosis, the opening of your cervix may be smaller than normal. This disrupts your menstrual flow, resulting in added amounts of pressure and therefore more pain.

Fibroids: Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the walls of your uterus. These growths can vary in size, and the pain is usually determined by how large they are and where they are located.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID is diagnosed when you have an infection in the female reproductive organs. In most cases, it occurs from sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia.

How To Manage Period Pain

Period pain of any type can be extremely frustrating to deal with; especially if you have a busy schedule and would rather not have to take time out. Luckily, there are many different types of period pain relief to benefit from; all as to which take immediate effect. You can shop for period pain relief right here at Express Pharmacy and have your medication delivered to your doorstep in a matter of days.

Other ways to manage period pain include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress triggers
  • Using heating pads or hot water bottles
  • Taking a hot bath