You asked, we answered: I get really bad menstrual cramps, what can I do?


I get really bad menstrual cramps several days before, during and after my period. Is that normal? What causes this? What can I do to help reduce cramping? 

Answered by Bethany Berg, PA-C, University Health Center health care provider: 

Many women experience menstrual cramps. In some people, they are mildly annoying, and for other women, they can be debilitating and cause you to miss work, classes, etc. It can be caused by various medical conditions, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids and others. Typically, menstrual cramps without an underlying medical condition continue to improve as you get older and can improve after having children. 

The most important part is to control the pain of the cramping. Taking ibuprofen or naproxen on the days leading up to your period and during can help with the pain. If the pain or cramping is worsening or affecting your daily responsibilities, you should consider talking to your health care provider about your periods. Hormonal birth control can also be used to help with cramping, and in some cases, surgery or consultation with a specialist may be needed as well.