Dysmenorrhea is the used to describe painful menstrual periods, including severe cramps.
Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin. Most teens with dysmenorrhea do not have a serious disease, even though the cramps can be severe. In older women, the pain is sometimes caused by a disease or condition such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
For some women, using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease their cramps. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms. They include:
- Ibuprofen (eye-byu-PROH-fuhn) (for instance, Advil, Motrin, Midol Cramp)
- Ketoprofen (key-toh-PROH-fuhn) (for instance, Orudis KT)
- Naproxen (nuh-PROK-suhn) (for instance, Aleve)
If these medicines don't relieve your pain or the pain interferes with work or school, you should see a doctor. Treatment depends on what's causing the problem and how severe it is.
Reference: Office of Women's Health
Last updated January 7, 2017