What are the causes of painful menstrual cramping?

It’s normal for ladies to experience some mildly uncomfortable cramping during their periods. However, you may wish to consult an Ob/Gyn at West Hills Hospital if you experience severe cramps or persistent pain. You can meet one of our friendly Ob/Gyn specialists when you watch the accompanying video. She reassures viewers that painful menstruation isn’t necessarily a sign of infertility, but might possibly be caused by any of the following conditions.

Endometriosis is an abnormality that involves the endometrium, which is the tissue that lines the uterus . When a woman develops endometriosis, her body grows endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Usually, the condition affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvic tissue, but other areas may also have endometrial tissue growths.

During each monthly cycle, a woman’s endometrium naturally breaks down, bleeds and is expelled. The displaced tissue outside the uterus goes through the same process, except that it’s unable to exit the body. This can trigger thick scar tissue to develop, and cause the following symptoms:

  • Severe pelvic pain during menstruation

  • Pain during sex

  • Excessively heavy periods

  • Pain with urination or bowel movements, especially during menstruation

It’s possible for endometriosis to cause infertility.

Uterine fibroids
These fibroids are growths of tissue that develop in the uterus. They can be tiny or so large that they distort the uterus. Uterine fibroids are not cancerous, and aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer.

Uterine fibroids are common in women of childbearing age, and many women don’t realize they have them because symptoms are absent. When they do become symptomatic, women may experience the following:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Pelvic pain and pressure

  • Excessively long periods

  • Backache or leg pain

It’s uncommon, but possible for a fibroid to spontaneously die and trigger acute, severe pain.

Stenosis of the uterine cervix
This type of cervical stenosis is not to be confused with stenosis of the cervical spine. Instead, it refers to the narrowing of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus.

When this condition occurs, it can obstruct the flow of menstrual blood through the cervix, causing pain and possibly a palpable bulge in the pelvic area. Women with cervical stenosis typically experience menstrual cramping, but only have very light bleeding or spotting.

West Hills Hospital provides a complete line of patient-focused women’s services, including maternity, pelvic health, gynecologic urology and gynecologic oncology. Our Ob/Gyn specialists are genuinely compassionate providers who encourage women to be proactive in making informed healthcare decisions. You can request a referral to a physician at our hospital in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

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