Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb tightens (contracts). Mild contractions continually pass through your womb, but they're usually so mild that most women can't feel them.
During your period, the wall of the womb starts to contract more vigorously to encourage the womb lining to shed away as part of your monthly period.
When the muscular wall of the womb contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining your womb. This temporarily cuts off the blood supply and hence oxygen supplyto your womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain.
While your body is releasing these pain-triggering chemicals, it's also producing other chemicals called prostaglandins. These encourage the womb muscles to contract more, further increasing the level of pain.
It's not known why some women experience more period pain than others. It may be that some women have a build-up of prostaglandins, which means they experience stronger contractions.
Less commonly, period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Doctors sometimes call this secondary dysmenorrhoea.
Period pain linked to an underlying condition tends to affect older women. Women aged 30 to 45 are most commonly affected.
Conditions that can cause period pain include:
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of contraception made from copper and plastic that fits inside the womb. It can also sometimes cause period pain, particularly during the first few months after it's inserted.
You may notice a change in your normal pattern of pain if your period pain is linked to one of the above conditions. For example, the pain may be more severe or it may last much longer than normal.
If your period pain is caused by an underlying condition, you may also experience:
See your GP if you experience any of these symptoms.
Read about period pain (dysmenorrhoea), including associated symptoms, when to see your GP, causes, diagnosing underlying conditions, and treatment.
Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb tightens (contracts). Mild contractions continually pass through your womb, but they're usually so mild that most women can't feel them. During y
Period pain usually starts when your bleeding begins, although some women have pain several days before the start of their period. The pain normally lasts 48 to 72 hours, although it can last longer.
In most cases period pain is mild enough to treat at home. Painkillers You cantake ibuprofen and aspirin to help manage your pain. However, don't take ibuprofen or aspirinif you have asthma or s
See your GP if you have severe period pain or your normal pattern of periods changes for example,if your periods become heavier than usual or irregular. You should also see your GP if you have sympto
Period pain that's part of your normalmenstrual cycle won't affect your fertility. However,if the cause isan underlying condition, this may affect your fertility. For example, endometriosis and pelvi