Question

Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

What should I do if my teenage daughter complains of painful periods?

A Answers (2)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    While painful cramping associated with monthly menstruation is rather common, it’s not a symptom that should be ignored. As teenage girls, they are just beginning their monthly menstruation and don’t know what kind of symptoms are normal and what aren’t, so it’s important as a mother to listen to your daughters’ complaints and be aware when her symptoms seem to be more than minor monthly cramps. If minor cramps are the issue, encourage exercise, a warm bath, or over the counter pain relievers, all of which will help with monthly aches.

    If your daughter’s complaining of severely painful periods that interfere with her daily activities, you should take her to a gynecologist for an exam (which every girl should have at 18, or whenever they first become sexually active anyways). There are treatments for period pains, so your daughter doesn’t have to face a monthly meltdown. Moreover, the doctor will be able to help diagnose if the pain is more than just period cramps. Severely painful periods, due to a number of conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), adenomyosis, endometriosis, fibroids, etc. -- many of which have treatments to reduce symptoms.

    The worst thing you can do is brush your daughter’s pain off as PMS -- be sure to take her pain seriously.
  • ADiana Blythe, MD, Pediatrics, answered on behalf of Pediatric Associates

    If your teenage daughter complains of painful periods, try this before going to a specialist.

    On the day before her flow and cramping starts, there is usually some bloating or gas. You have a chance here to help her. Have her tell you when this occurs and give her Aleve twice daily or Motrin/Advil three times daily for the next two days. This will make it harder for prostaglandins to be made in her body. Prostaglandins play a big part in her cramping and decreasing them should make her cramping better. The most important part here is to start the medicine BEFORE the actually cramping starts. If you wait until she is cramping, she may not receive much relief.

    If you try this and she is still in pain, she should see the gynecologist to rule out any medical conditions that can be treated.

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