Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.
Regional Medical Center
1155 Mill St

Children's Hospital
1155 Mill St

Rehabilitation Hospital
1495 Mill St

South Meadows Medical Center
10101 Double R Blvd

Skilled Nursing
1835 Oddie Blvd

Carson Valley Medical Center
1107 HWY 395
Center for Advanced Medicine B
1500 E 2nd St

Center for Advanced Medicine C
75 Pringle Way

Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
1155 Mill St

Institute for Cancer
1155 Mill St
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.
Regional Medical Center
1155 Mill St

Children's Hospital
1155 Mill St

Rehabilitation Hospital
1495 Mill St

South Meadows Medical Center
10101 Double R Blvd

Skilled Nursing
1835 Oddie Blvd

Carson Valley Medical Center
1107 HWY 395
Center for Advanced Medicine B
1500 E 2nd St

Center for Advanced Medicine C
75 Pringle Way

Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
1155 Mill St

Institute for Cancer
1155 Mill St
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Regional Medical Center

1155 Mill St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-4100


Renown Regional Medical Center
1155 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502
Renown Health serves a 17-county region with a total population in excess of 750,000. Our facilities include two medical centers, a rehabilitation hospital, a skilled nursing facility, numerous medical group and urgent care facilities, and the region's most trusted health insurance provider, Hometown Health. 775-982-5000

Renown Children's Hospital

1155 Mill St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-KIDS (5437)

Renown Children's Hospital
1155 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Rehabilitation Hospital

1495 Mill St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-3500


Renown Rebabilitation Hospital - 1495 Mill St
1495 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown South Meadows
Medical Center

10101 Double R Blvd Reno, NV 89521
775-982-7000


Renown South Meadows - 10101 Double R Blvd
10101 Double R Blvd, Reno, NV 89521
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Carson Valley Medical Center

1107 Hwy 395 Gardnerville, NV 89410
775-782-1550


Carson Valley Medical Center - 1107 Highway 395
1107 Highway 395, Gardnerville, NV 89410
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Skilled Nursing

1835 Oddie Blvd Sparks, NV 89431
775-982-3232


Renown Skilled Nursing - 1835 Oddie Blvd
1835 Oddie Boulevard, Sparks, NV 89431
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Health Urgent Care

775-982-5000

Renown Health Urgent Care
9 convenient locations
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.
Renown Lab Services offers convenient access to complete your lab work with 10 locations close to your home or work. For your convenience, many of the locations are located inside or next to Renown hospitals and medical groups. Extended and Saturday hours are available at some locations.
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Center for Advanced Medicine B at Renown Regional

1500 E 2nd St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-4100


Center for Advanced Medicine B - 1500 E. 2nd St
1500 E. 2nd St., Reno, NV 89502
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Center for Advanced Medicine C at Renown Regional

75 Pringle Way Reno, NV 89502
775-982-4100


Center for Advanced Medicine C - 75 Pringle Way
75 Pringle Way, Reno, NV 89502
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Institute Heart & Vascular Health

1155 Mill St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-7888


Institute for Heart & Vascular Health - 1155 Mill St
1155 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502
Based in Reno, Nevada, Renown Health continues to be the regional healthcare leader, serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health network offering more services than all other local healthcare networks combined.

Renown Institute for Cancer

1155 Mill St Reno, NV 89502
775-982-5638


Renown Institute for Cancer - 1155 Mill St
1155 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502
 Back Close X

Online Health Library
Search Health Information   
 

Painful menstrual periods

Definition

Painful menstrual periods are periods in which a woman has crampy lower abdominal pain, sharp or aching pain that comes and goes, or possibly back pain.

Although some pain during your period is normal, excessive pain is not. The medical term for painful menstrual periods is dysmenorrhea.

Alternative Names

Menstruation - painful; Dysmenorrhea; Periods - painful; Cramps - menstrual; Menstrual cramps

Considerations

Many women have painful periods. Sometimes, the pain makes it difficult to perform normal household, job, or school-related activities for a few days during each menstrual cycle. Painful menstruation is the leading cause of lost time from school and work among women in their teens and 20s.

Common Causes

Painful menstrual periods fall into two groups, depending on the cause:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea

Primary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain that occurs around the time that menstrual periods first begin in otherwise healthy young women. This pain is usually not related to a specific problem with the uterus or other pelvic organs. Increased activity of the hormone prostaglandin, which is produced in the uterus, is thought to play a role in this condition.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain that develops later in women who have had normal periods and is often related to problems in the uterus or other pelvic organs, such as:

Home Care

The following steps may allow you to avoid prescription medications:

  • Apply a heating pad to your lower belly area, below your belly button. Never fall asleep with the heating pad on.
  • Do light circular massage with your fingertips around your lower belly area.
  • Drink warm beverages.
  • Eat light but frequent meals.
  • Follow a diet rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but low in salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Keep your legs raised while lying down, or lie on your side with your knees bent.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
  • Try over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen. Start taking it the day before your period is expected to start, and continue taking it regularly for the first few days of your period.
  • Try vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium supplements, especially if your pain is from PMS.
  • Take warm showers or baths.
  • Walk or exercise regularly, including pelvic rocking exercises.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Get regular, aerobic exercise.

If these self-care measures do not work, your doctor may prescribe medications such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control pills
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Prescription pain relievers (including narcotics, for brief periods)

Call your health care provider if

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever and pelvic pain
  • Sudden or severe pain, especially if your period is more than one week late and you have been sexually active.

Also call your doctor if:

  • Treatments do not relieve your pain after 3 months.
  • You have pain and had an IUD placed more than 3 months ago.
  • You pass blood clots or have other symptoms with the pain.
  • Your pain occurs at times other than menstruation, begins more than 5 days before your period, or continues after your period is over.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • How old were you when your periods started?
  • Have they always been painful? If not, when did the pain begin?
  • When in your menstrual cycle do you experience the pain?
  • Is the pain sharp, dull, intermittent, constant, aching, or cramping?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Do you use birth control? What type?
  • When was your last menstrual period?
  • Was the flow of your last menstrual period a normal amount for you?
  • Do your periods tend to be heavy or prolonged (lasting longer than 5 days)?
  • Have you passed blood clots?
  • Are your periods generally regular and predictable?
  • Do you use tampons with menstruation?
  • What have you done to try to relieve the discomfort? How effective was it?
  • Does anything make the pain worse?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?

Tests and procedures that may be done include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Cultures to rule out sexually transmitted infections
  • Laparoscopy
  • Ultrasound

Treatment depends on what is causing your pain.

Your health care provider may prescribe birth control pills to relieve menstrual pain. If you don't need them for birth control, you can stop using the pills after 6 to 12 months. Many women continue to have symptom relief even after stopping the medication.

Your doctor may prescribe prescription pain medications. For pain caused by an IUD, your doctor may recommend:

  • Waiting 1 year after it was placed. Painful periods go away in many women during this time.
  • Removing the IUD and using other types of birth control.
  • Changing to a different type of IUD that contains progesterone, which usually makes the periods lighter and less painful.

Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not relieve your pain. Surgery may be done to remove endometriosis, cysts, fibroids, scar tissue, or your uterus (hysterectomy).

References

Lentz GM. Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: etiology, diagnosis, management. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 36.


Review Date: 7/23/2012
Reviewed By: Melanie N. Smith, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com