Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Changes During Puberty > Painful Menstruation
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Painful Menstruation

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: I've had my period for about a year and it seems to get more painful each time. Over-the-counter pain relievers don't work. How can I relieve the cramps?

A: Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) is very common. Many teenage girls experience some form of cramping or discomfort in the first day or two of their monthly menstrual flow. For most girls, the discomfort is minor and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medicines. The pain is caused by substances that are made in the lining of the uterus called prostaglandins. The prostaglandins cause some contraction of the muscles of the uterus, and this can cause a cramping sensation.

Medicines that are prostaglandin inhibitors (ibuprofen, naproxen, mefenamic acid) often help to alleviate the pain. Remember that these medications work best when started as soon as possible after the period starts, or even 12-24 hours before the period starts, if it's possible to tell. It's also important to continue to be active when menstrual pain occurs. Physical activity has been shown to be more beneficial than just crawling into bed and doing nothing.

There are some girls (fewer than one percent) who have more significant pain with their menstrual flow and this may be an indication of a more serious condition. Problems such as endometriosis (a condition in which some of the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus) can cause severe pain. Infections of the fallopian tubes and uterus, as well as abnormalities of the uterus and the vagina, can also cause pain.

You should talk with your health-care provider about the pain that you are having. If this pain can't be managed with the standard pain medicines and is increasing in intensity over several months, you should have an examination of your uterus and ovaries.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks