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

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
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.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
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.

Continue Learning about Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

Many women are plagued by menstrual cramps from time to time, but did you know that there is a medical term for it? Dysmenorrhea is the official name for menstrual cramps. Cramps can occur right before your period is about to star...

t, and might continue for several days. While some women may be able to cope with these lower abdominal cramps, they may at times, debilitate you. You may sometimes notice other symptoms that coincide with the cramps including diarrhea, sweating, nausea, and/or feeling faint. Some women find that medication helps to ease their menstrual cramps while others swear by the use of a heating pad and other non-drug therapies. Interestingly, childbirth can sometimes put an end to dysmenorrheal unless it has been caused by a medical state. Talk to your doctor to discuss pain relief options that will work for you.
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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.