During your period, pain can mean a lot of different things depending on the location and type of period pains. It gives an indication of what is going on during your period.

Normal period pain, also known as primary dysmenorrhoea, is a cramp-like pain that occurs in your pelvis or lower back. Another name for it is menstrual cramps.

These cramps may occur just before your period or during the first few days. The pain should be relieved by a painkiller and should not stop you from doing any of your normal day-to-day activities.

The release of prostaglandins into your uterus is what causes this pain. A combination of high estrogen and low progesterone levels leads to an increase in prostaglandin release, which in turn increases the pain you feel during your period.

Changes in diet and nutritional supplementation can help to reduce some pain. Pain may also reduce as you get older.

Severe Period Pains

If you experience pain that is more severe than this – that isn’t relieved by painkillers – you may have secondary dysmenorrhoea.

This pain is often described as stabbing, throbbing, burning, or searing. It can last for several days or even occur between your periods. 

Pain might be severe enough to cause nausea or vomiting, and you may need to miss school or work. Severe pain is an indication that there is an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis or adenomyosis.

Other Things To Watch

Apart from the types of pain mentioned above, you may also experience pain at other times.

These are some of the most common causes and there are times you might experience other types of pain, such as:

  • Pain during sex often occurs from the friction and probable means you don’t have enough lubrication.

This can be because of stress, not being adequately aroused, approaching menopause, or mild infection. If the pain is more severe and feels like a deep, stabbing pain it may be a sign of an ovarian cyst, endometriosis, adenomyosis, or an infection. Severe pain needs further investigation.

  • Infections can cause pain and have a range of different symptoms. You may or may not have fever, bad-smelling discharge, or itchiness. Some infections do not have symptoms.
  • Mid-cycle pain might occur during ovulation when your egg ruptures out of your ovary. It should be only an hour or two and not be severe enough to need a painkiller. If it is more severe, lasts longer, or is more severe, it may need further investigation.
  • An ovarian cyst may also cause pain.

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Nicki Stewart

Nicki has always been drawn to Holistic Health and she follows in her mother’s footsteps who is a Reflexologist and Natural Therapist. Nicki was inspired to study Herbal Medicine after attending one of Dr. Sandi Rogers’ (Naturopath, Director of National College of Traditional Medicine and former President of Australian Traditional Medicine Society) seminars on ‘Fruits […]

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Alyce Beaton

Alyce is qualified naturopath in Ballarat who loves supporting people on their health journey. Alyce believes optimising and restoring health first and foremost begins with food as medicine and creating healthy lifestyle habits. She is passionate about providing a safe, non judgement environment and endeavours to support her clients with strategies they can implement into […]

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