Advertisement

How common are menstrual cramps?

Dr. Howard S. Smith
Pain Medicine Specialist

Almost every woman has experienced the debilitating pain of menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) at some time. More than 40 percent of all American women today suffer monthly with debilitating menstrual cramps. More than 10 percent of these women are incapacitated for one to three days each month because of excruciating pain.

Not all women experience menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, during menstruation. For teens, cramps are often caused by prostaglandin; this can happen later in life too, but for older women, cramps can indicate a more serious condition like fibroids or adenomyosis. Endometriosis is another cause, which can happen at any age but usually in one's 30s or 40s. If no underlying cause is found for menstrual cramps, they often lessen or go away once a woman has had a baby.

Continue Learning about Menstruation

The One Tampon Complication Can Be Life-Threatening
The One Tampon Complication Can Be Life-Threatening
The tampon was invented in 1929 by Dr. Earl Haas, and many women immediately found it to be a more convenient option. But having your period was a tab...
Read More
Are amenorrhea and menopause both the end of menstruation?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Menopause is the permanent end to the reproductive life of a woman which marks the end of all monthl...
More Answers
5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Painlessly surf the crimson wave.
Start Slideshow
Can PMS Affect Middle-Aged Women Differently?
Can PMS Affect Middle-Aged Women Differently?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.