A common menstrual symptom is menstrual pain, which typically starts at the onset of menstruation and lasts for about one to two days. The pain can be felt over a wide area that can range from the lower abdomen to the back, groin, and even the thighs. Simultaneously with the pain, you may experience stomach symptoms such as diarrhoea, flatulence, and vomiting. Headaches can also occur during menstruation.
However, not all pain symptoms are typical, and these should be monitored.
Severe menstrual pain
Although menstrual pain is very common, not all pain is typical. For example, very severe pain that may start before menstruation and continue throughout the flow is not typical. In addition, if standard over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, are not enough to relieve the pain, you need to take action. Menstrual pains so severe that they force you to miss out on planned activities such as work, school, or hobbies, or make you repeatedly think about cancelling, are not typical.
Severe pain should not be part of anyone's life, and the cause must be identified! Severe pain may be caused by a condition such as endometriosis or adenomyosis. Read more about endometriosis and adenomyosis here.
Other types of pelvic pain
Certain gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis and adenomyosis, can cause not only cyclical pain that varies with the menstrual cycle but also constant, chronic pain. In addition, severe pain can occur during ovulation or in certain situations, such as caused by vibration. Pain may also occur in the intestines or during urination. Back pain or sciatica may also occur.
In particular, pain associated with endometriosis may not be confined to the pelvic area; it may also manifest itself as pain in the shoulder, for example a stabbing pain in one shoulder.
Vulvodynia can also cause a wide range of pains. The pain associated with vestibulodynia, the more common form of vulvodynia, is touch-related and can be caused by things like sex, certain types of clothing, or the seated position. In the less common form of vulvodynia, neuropathic vulvodynia, the pain is constant over a wide area and is not aggravated by things such as touch. However, sitting still for a long time can make the pain worse, and the pain may worsen towards the evening. Read more about vulvodynia here.
Pain can be associated with sex for many reasons, but sexual pain is not typical and does not have to be tolerated. Read more about sex-related pain here.
I am in pain, what should I do?
If you have pain for which the cause is unknown, you should always seek medical advice from a health professional!