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Is painful cramping during menstruation a sign of infertility?

Mary Olender, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Painful cramping during menstruation is not necessarily a sign of infertility, and it depends on the women’s age. Watch Mary Olender, MD of West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, explain more.
Painful cramping during menstruation is not necessarily a sign of infertility. It is very common for women to have cramps during their period, and this does not always indicate a problem. However, severe cramping and pain can indicate a condition, called endometriosis, that can place women at a higher risk of infertility. Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells that cause a woman to have a period travel outside of the uterus to places such as the abdomen or ovaries. This can cause scaring, which can potentially lead to infertility if severe and left untreated.

Painful cramping during menstruation may be a sign of potential infertility issues. One of the most common causes of painful menstrual cramping is a condition known as endometriosis. With endometriosis, the tissues that line the uterus (the endometrium) are found outside of the uterus in the pelvic cavity. During menses, these tissues are triggered by a woman's hormones to thicken and break down - just like the process that happens to the lining of the uterus. The presence of this dynamic tissue where it does not belong can cause scarring, adhesions and blockages that prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, or prevent a fertilized egg (embryo) from traveling to the uterus.

Sometimes, however, painful cramps are not related to endometriosis or other causes of infertility and are simply an unwelcome nuisance and irritant that returns on a monthly basis.

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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.