Menstrual Pain: Everything You Need to Know

What Is Menstrual Pain?

Menstrual pain is common for many women. Lower abdominal cramping, discomfort, and menstrual pain are common before and during menstruation. Bloating, fatigue, and mood fluctuations may accompany mild to severe menstrual pain. The uterus contracts and sheds its lining during menstruation.

Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea are menstrual discomfort types. Primary dysmenorrhea is characterized by normal pelvic architecture and no medical issues. Uterine fibroids and endometriosis are frequent causes of secondary dysmenorrhea. Even while menstruation pain is frequent, extreme pain should not be ignored.

How Common Is Menstrual Pain? 

Women often endure dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain. Before and during menstruation, it causes lower abdominal throbbing or cramping. Some manage these discomforts, but others can't function for a few days a month. 

Endometriosis is a condition in which the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, causing painful menstrual periods. Migraines during menstruation can cause uncomfortable side effects, including headaches, sensitivity to light, and nausea. While intensity varies, menstruation pain affects many women.

What Are the Causes of Menstrual Pain? 

Different reasons might cause dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain. Uterine contractions that remove the lining produce cramping most often. Contractions restrict blood flow, depriving the body of oxygen and causing pain.

Prostaglandins, which cause uterine contractions, increase discomfort. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandin synthesis. Menstrual pain can have various underlying causes. Here's a closer look at the factors contributing to this discomfort:

  1. Uterine Contractions: During menstruation, the uterus contracts to shed its lining, causing cramping pain.
  2. Endometriosis: Endometriosis causes excruciating agony because uterine-like tissue grows in places where it shouldn't.
  3. Prostaglandins: Contractions and discomfort in the uterus are brought on by these hormone-like molecules.
  4. Uterine Fibroids: Non Cancerous uterine growths can cause severe menstrual cramping.
  5. NSAIDs: Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen reduce prostaglandin synthesis.
  6. Heat Therapy: Using a heating pad or similar device can help.
  7. TENS: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is another pain management technique.

What Are the Symptoms of Menstrual Pain?

Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual discomfort, can present itself in various ways and can vary in severity from woman to woman. Identifying and treating menstruation discomfort requires an in-depth familiarity with these signs.

Lower abdominal cramping is the predominant sign of menstruation discomfort. Pain in the pelvic region, which may range from minor discomfort to excruciating pain, is a common symptom of cramping. Moreover, some women report experiencing back pain when they are menstruating. Menstrual pain can bring about several discomforting symptoms. Here's a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Throbbing or Cramping Pain: Intense pain in the lower abdomen is common.
  • Timing: Pain starts 1 to 3 days before menstruation, peaks 24 hours after onset, and lasts 2 to 3 days.
  • Dull Ache: A continuous, dull ache can persist.
  • Mood Changes: Fluctuations in hormones might lead to mood swings.
  • Breast Tenderness: Hormonal changes can cause breast soreness.
  • Ovulation Pain: Some experience pelvic pain during ovulation.
  • Spotting: Light bleeding or spotting might occur.
  • Fatigue: Feeling more tired than usual is possible.

While mild symptoms are expected, severe or unusual symptoms warrant medical attention. Understanding these symptoms helps in managing menstrual discomfort effectively.

Differentiating Between Normal Cramps and Dysmenorrhea

Menstrual cramps are common for many women. It's vital to distinguish between cramps and dysmenorrhea, a severe or debilitating menstrual discomfort affecting daily life. Normal cramps cause mild to severe lower abdominal pain and may be accompanied by bloating, breast tenderness, or exhaustion. These cramps usually go away in a few days with over-the-counter painkillers.

However, dysmenorrhea causes severe pelvic pain that can disrupt daily life. This disorder can cause acute or throbbing lower abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, and fainting. Endometriosis and uterine fibroids can cause dysmenorrhea. Paying attention to pain level and its influence on daily duties might help distinguish dysmenorrhea from cramps. If acute menstrual discomfort prevents you from doing your usual activities, see a doctor for additional examination and treatment.

How Long Does Menstrual Pain Last?

Several factors, including a woman's unique physiology and underlying disorders, can affect how long menstruation discomfort lasts. Knowing the range of pain experienced during menstruation and how long it typically lasts can help women prepare for the experience.

Remember that these are just rough estimates, and your personal experience may differ. Suppose your period pain lasts longer than usual or interferes considerably with your regular activities. In that case, you should see a doctor to be evaluated and given treatment options suited to your unique needs.

Mild pain: 1-2 days:

Some women experience mild, short-lived menstrual cramps for a day or two. Pain from these cramps is usually treatable with over-the-counter medications and likely won't interfere too much with your regular life.

Moderate pain: 2-3 days:

When menstruation pain is mild, it usually lasts two or three days. You may need stronger medicine or other supporting measures, such as heat therapy or moderate exercises, to successfully alleviate the symptoms. 

Severe pain: 3-7 days:

Painful menstrual cramps can last 3-7 days for some women. This acute discomfort usually requires professional treatment. Menstrual discomfort, especially if it lasts longer or is more severe, may indicate a major medical issue.

How to Reduce Menstrual Pain

Dealing with menstrual pain can be challenging, but various methods and techniques can help alleviate discomfort. Adding these habits to your regimen may help you feel better during your periods.

Each person's menstrual pain experience is different, so it may take some trial and error to find the best techniques. If your period discomfort persists or worsens, consult a doctor for further evaluation and specific therapy.

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium alleviate inflammation and menstrual cramps. Following the recommended dosage instructions provided by healthcare professionals or indicated on the packaging is essential.
  • Heat therapy: Applying a heating pad or taking warm baths/showers can help relax the muscles in the abdomen, easing menstrual pain. Heat helps increase blood flow to the area and provides soothing comfort.
  • Exercise: Engaging in light physical activity like walking or gentle stretching exercises can stimulate endorphin release, which acts as a natural painkiller. Regular exercise also promotes overall well-being and may contribute to reducing menstrual cramp intensity.
  • Dietary adjustments: Incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and seeds), calcium (such as dairy products), magnesium (present in leafy greens), and vitamin E (found in avocados) into your diet may have potential benefits for managing menstrual pain.
  • Stress management techniques: Stress-reducing activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness techniques can help relax the mind and body, reducing tension associated with menstruation-related discomfort.
  • Herbal remedies: Some individuals find relief through herbs such as ginger or chamomile. However, consulting with a healthcare professional before trying new supplements or herbal treatments is essential to ensure safety and compatibility with individual health conditions.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS devices deliver low-voltage electrical currents through the skin, which may help disrupt pain signals and relieve menstrual cramps. It is recommended to consult a healthcare provider or physical therapist for guidance on proper usage.
  • Adequate rest and self-care: Getting sufficient sleep, practicing good hygiene habits, and prioritizing self-care activities can contribute to overall well-being during menstruation. Creating a calm and comfortable environment can also help manage pain levels effectively.
  • Using CBD Oil products: CBD oil offers a natural option for menstrual pain relief. Its anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties reduce cramping and inflammation in the uterus. However, consult a healthcare provider for personalized guidance before use.

Related Blog: How to Reduce Pain During Menstrual Cycle

Home Remedies for Menstrual Pain

Some people experiencing menstruation discomfort look into readily available natural therapies rather than conventional medical options. While these treatments aren't guaranteed to alleviate your menstrual pain, they are viable options. Here are some cures you can try at home.

  • Heat therapy: Menstrual cramps can be alleviated with heat therapy, which involves placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on the lower abdomen to relax the muscles there. By increasing circulation, heat alleviates pain and induces a state of calm.
  • Herbal teas: Some herbal teas, such as chamomile, ginger, or peppermint, have long been used to ease the discomfort of menstruation. These teas may help reduce swelling and pain due to their anti-inflammatory qualities. However, it is best to talk to a doctor before starting any new herbal remedies to be sure they are safe and appropriate for your health needs.
  • Dietary modifications: Changing your diet to include more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and other seafood), calcium (found in dairy products), magnesium (present in leafy greens), and vitamin E (abundant in avocados) may help reduce inflammation and alleviate period cramps.
  • Gentle exercise: Walking, stretching, and yoga help reduce menstruation discomfort by increasing blood flow, releasing feel-good endorphins, and relaxing muscles.
  • Essential oils: Lavender and clary sage, for example, are two essential oils that may have a calming effect when used aromatically or topically. Be sure to appropriately dilute them before using, and consult an aromatherapy specialist if you have any questions.
  • Acupressure: Menstrual discomfort can be alleviated by applying pressure to specific locations on the body, known as acupressure sites. Some TCM practitioners, for instance, attribute an energetic connection between the space between their thumb and index finger and the alleviation of pelvic pain. However, It should be noted that scant scientific data supports the use of acupressure to treat menstruation pain.
  • Relaxation techniques: Reducing stress and relaxing the mind and body via deep breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness can help alleviate period cramps.
  • Adequate rest: Getting enough sleep and letting your body relax during menstruation is beneficial to your health and can help you cope with the discomfort of your period.

Is Menstrual Cup Painful?

Using a menstrual cup should not typically be painful. Some people may feel minor discomfort, especially when first using it. Learning to insert the cup or find the perfect technique for their body may cause early discomfort. Remember that your body requires time to acclimate to this new menstrual hygiene regimen.

A menstruation cup that's overly stiff for your anatomy may cause pain. A firmer cup may strain on organs and tissues, producing pain. Switching to a softer menstruation cup may help. Leakage can also result from improper cup insertion or overfilling.

Any discomfort should decrease as you get used to inserting and removing a menstrual cup. Consult a doctor if discomfort worsens.

Types of Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea, has two basic types: primary and secondary. Understanding the sort of menstruation pain you get might help you choose the best treatment and seek medical attention. 

Here, we take a look at the different types of menstrual pain and understand their effects:

Primary Dysmenorrhea:

Primary dysmenorrhea is the most frequent menstrual pain caused by the natural cycle. It causes back and lower abdominal cramps. This pain usually starts before or during menstruation and lasts for days. Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by uterine contractions that remove the lining. The pain ranges from minor to severe cramps. Over-the-counter painkillers, heat therapy, exercise, and relaxation may alleviate primary dysmenorrhea.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea:

Secondary dysmenorrhea is menstruation pain caused by endometriosis or fibroids. Secondary dysmenorrhea pain starts earlier and lasts longer than primary dysmenorrhea. More severe pain may not be healed with over-the-counter pain drugs. The treatment of Secondary dysmenorrhea requires identifying and treating the underlying problem. Consulting a doctor for diagnosis and treatment is advised.

Yoga Asanas for Menstrual Pain

Yoga poses can offer relief from menstrual pain and discomfort. These poses, when practiced mindfully, can aid in managing menstrual discomfort and improving your overall well-being during your period.

Here are a few poses to consider integrating into your practice:

  • Child's Pose (Balasana): This resting pose stretches the lower back and relaxes the pelvic area.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): This gentle flow helps relieve tension in the spine and abdominal area.
  • Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana): A twist that helps alleviate back pain and improves digestion.
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): It promotes blood circulation, strengthens the back, and reduces fatigue.
  • Fish Pose (Matsyasana): Opens the chest and shoulders, boosting energy and combating fatigue.
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): A calming stretch that soothes the spine and abdominal muscles.
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): Relaxes the pelvic region and eases tension.
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana): A relaxation pose that helps release stress and promotes overall calmness.

Exercises for Menstrual Back Pain

Certain workouts can reduce menstrual back pain. These exercises stretch and strengthen back and abdominal muscles to relieve menstrual pain.

Add these exercises to your routine to reduce menstrual back discomfort and improve cycle comfort.  

  • Thigh Dancing: Sit kneeling hip-width apart. Try rolling your hips forward and back to engage your abs.
  • Forward Fold: Stand with feet together and tilt forward from the hips to the floor. Kneel if necessary.
  • Seated Forward Bend: Lean forward over one knee with your forehead on your thigh and sit with your legs outstretched. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Child's Pose: Sit on your heels with your arms forward and chest down, kneeling on the floor.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch: Switch between arcing and gently rounding your back on your hands and knees to stretch the spine.
  • Bridge Pose: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and lift your hips off the floor while pressing your feet down.
  • Supine Twist: Lie on your back, bend one leg, and cross it over the other, gently twisting your lower body.
  • Legs Up the Wall: Lying on your back with your legs upright against a wall promotes circulation and relaxation.


Various remedies can help manage menstrual pain, including over-the-counter pain relievers, heat therapy, relaxation techniques, and yoga poses. Exercising that targets the back and abdominal muscles can also alleviate discomfort. Consulting a healthcare professional for persistent or severe pain is recommended, as it might indicate an underlying condition like endometriosis.

Understanding your body's needs and exploring different approaches can empower you to navigate menstrual pain more efficiently and comfortably. Remember that seeking medical advice and trying different strategies can help you tailor a plan that works best for you.

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