8 Common Causes for Painful Periods

Period pain can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many women; however, for some, it can be a sign of an underlying condition requiring medical attention. In this article, you will explore the common causes of painful periods and discuss management strategies to help you find relief.

If you’re struggling with period pain and don’t understand the underlying cause, keep reading!

Understanding Menstruation

The Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is a natural process in women’s bodies, typically lasting between 21 and 35 days. It involves hormonal changes that prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy. If no fertilization occurs, the endometrial lining is shed, resulting in menstruation.

Normal Period Symptoms

Normal period symptoms include mild cramping, bloating, mood swings, and fatigue. These symptoms are usually manageable and do not significantly disrupt daily activities.

Painful Period Symptoms

Painful periods, or dysmenorrhea, can cause severe cramping, heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting, and fainting. These symptoms can be debilitating, affecting daily life, and requiring medical intervention.

8 Common Causes of Painful Periods

1. Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, causing inflammation and pain. This condition can lead to severe menstrual cramps, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility.

2. Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous uterine growths that can cause heavy bleeding, severe cramping, and pelvic pressure. If you live in Memphis, you must discover how seeking  uterine fibroid treatment in Memphis, TN, can help alleviate painful periods and improve your quality of life.

3. Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis results from endometrial tissue growing into the muscular wall of the uterus. Its main issue is that it causes the uterus to enlarge abnormally hence causing heavy bleeding and severe cramping.

4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the female reproductive system, often caused by sexually transmitted infections. It can lead to painful periods, abdominal pain, and irregular bleeding.

5. Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. They can cause sharp pelvic pain, bloating, and heaviness in the abdomen.

6. Cervical Stenosis

Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the cervix, which can obstruct menstrual flow, cause painful periods, and cause difficulty inserting tampons.

7. Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are caused by contractions of the uterus. They can range from mild to severe and typically occur during the first few days of menstruation.

8. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

PMS refers to physical and emotional symptoms before menstruation, including mood swings, fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms can exacerbate pain during periods.

Managing Painful Periods

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation during periods.

Heat Therapy

Applying heat to the lower abdomen can help relax muscles and alleviate cramping.

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control methods can help regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce heavy bleeding, and alleviate period pain.


Surgery may sometimes be necessary to treat the underlying cause of painful periods, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. It is often considered a last resort but is necessary for some extreme patients.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practicing stress-reduction techniques can help improve overall well-being and reduce period pain. Though it might seem tough, according to research, exercise during your menstruation cycle makes the cramps much more bearable.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and herbal supplements may relieve some women experiencing painful periods, and it helps to apply pressure on the cramp or pain points during massages. You can ask your massage therapist to incorporate specific pain relief oils into your routine.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you’re experiencing severe period pain or suspect an underlying condition, consult your healthcare provider for diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Most women struggle with chronic period pains but suffer quietly with simple pain medications and a heating pad. Though they can be effective too, it is better to identify any major reason if it does exist!

Tracking Menstrual Cycles

Keeping a menstrual cycle journal can help you identify patterns and triggers for painful periods. Identifying patterns will greatly help you prevent pain in the future by predicting and taking medications beforehand.

Noting down symptoms could make it much easier for your doctor to identify any serious underlying cause. You don’t have to do much yourself these days since many smartphones offer apps where you can tick some major symptoms, and they create an analysis themselves.


Period pains in many women are often unbearable and cause intense discomfort, hindering their daily tasks. However, remember that though it is natural, it is not something you must suffer alone! Reach out, find any underlying cause, and get help.