Is Your Period Normal? 6 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

How do you know if your period cramps are abnormal and when to seek professional help

3 min read

Menstrual cramps are the exasperating side-effect of being born with a womb. That familiar pain and rage is your body’s way of saying that you will be out of action for the next week.

Periods suck. But we all have that one friend which doesn’t even notice that Aunt Flo is in town while you are calling in sick to work because of debilitating pain.

So what gives?

Menstrual cycles vary in duration and intensity for everyone but if the cramps are so bad that you can’t go out and have to call in sick, then there’s something going on. In short, if cramps are cramping your style, then meet your gynecologist ASAP and remember:


1. Killer Cramps Are Never Normal

How do you know if your period cramps are abnormal and when to seek  professional help
Cramps are the worst. Everyone has them, everyone hates them, no one knows what to do about them, other than guzzling some wine. (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

Your whole menstrual cycle is designed to get you pregnant. Every month, your uterus grows the endometrium, which is a thick lining to feed and snuggle a fertilised egg. When fertilisation doesn’t happen, the uterus rips its lining and you ride the crimson wave for the next two to seven days. This happens every month till menopause occurs.

But every cycle is a bit different. If your cramps are horribly painful, ask your doctor about these three medical conditions:

2. Uterine Fibroids

About 75% women experience uterine fibroids at some point in their life. These non-cancerous growths are painful as hell only if they touch the uterus lining.

So if Aunt Flo is particularly long, heavy, painful and messing up your lifestyle, ask your doctor to schedule an ultrasound and check if these buggers are residing inside your uterus.

3. Endometriosis

How do you know if your period cramps are abnormal and when to seek  professional help
(Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@casagirl)

Nearly 10% women have this condition, nearly a-third of these have trouble getting pregnant. Yet doctors estimate that most women suffer acute pain on a monthly basis for 7 to 11 years before they are diagnosed. Endometriosis is the disorder where the (inner) lining of your womb grows outside the uterus. It thickens and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. All this excess blood wrecks havoc on your pelvic area, which can cause gut-clutching cramps, painful sex and even infertility.

4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It is the most serious complication of a sexually transmitted disease, like chlamydia or gonorrhea. While the disease itself might not show any symptoms, if your pelvic area hurts in sex, menstrual cramps are horrible, you smell not-so-great down under and bleed in between your cycle – get medical attention immediately. Most of the times this is treatable with antibiotics but the sooner you diagnose the infection the better.

Related Read: Natural Ways to Make Your PMS Less Miserable


5. Painkillers Are Of No Use

How do you know if your period cramps are abnormal and when to seek  professional help
Feels like a fat man sitting on your uterus? Well, some of us are cursed with extra crappy periods but if your menses have suddenly gotten way too painful, it warrants a doctor’s visit. (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@foxadhd)

When popping a painkiller (or two) with a side order of chocolate and wine doesn’t fix it, you’re in trouble. Periods are not meant to spell misery even after pain relieving, anti-inflammatory drugs; it clearly means that there is a deeper issue which requires medical intervention.

Related Read: 6 Life-Saving Food Hacks To Make Your Period Cramps Suck Less


6. Spotting In Between Periods

How do you know if your period cramps are abnormal and when to seek  professional help
There are a lot of harmless reasons why you have spotting in between your menses but it’s best decided by a trained doctor. (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

If you’re on a hormonal birth control measure, like the pill or IUD, occasional spotting is a known side-effect. Gynecologists say that some women always bleed for a day or two around ovulation - so if that’s been the case since the start of your menstrual cycle, it’s normal. What’s not normal is regularly bleeding after sex, or spotting when you’re not on the pill - all common signs of complex issues like cervical cancer, dysplasia; pre-cervical cancer condition.

Related Read: PCOS: When Missed Periods is a Metabolic Problem

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