severe menstrual cramps

Severe Menstrual Cramps

Are you experiencing painful menstrual cramps? If cramps are making you miserable or causing you to miss out on life, we want you to know that there is help available. But to point you towards relief, we first need to determine what is causing your severe cramps

We recommend gathering the following information to share with your doctor in order to better describe your individual situation:

  • Do you notice cramping before, during, or between menstrual cycles? 
  • Is the pain dull and constant, or sudden and sharp? 
  • Are your severe cramps a first occurrence, or do they recur each month?
  • Do over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, bring relief? 
  • Is there a chance that you might be pregnant?
  • Have you had any past issues involving your reproductive tract?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms?

Our fibroid specialists want you to know that uterine fibroids may be to blame for your severe menstrual cramps. We also want you to be aware that severe cramps due to other causes can sometimes require a trip to the emergency room. 

Severe Menstrual Cramps and What Causes Them

Several health conditions may be to blame for your severe period cramps. Because it is impossible to know for sure what is causing them without a full medical evaluation, we suggest discussing this issue with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Once your doctor has gathered some initial information about your painful menstrual cramps, overall menstrual cycle, and other related symptoms, they will perform a physical examination. This may include a pelvic exam. If they suspect you have an underlying condition like uterine fibroids, they will probably order medical imaging such as ultrasound or MRI to make a formal diagnosis. Once properly diagnosed, you can explore your treatment options

Causes of Severe Menstrual Cramps

You are probably wondering which types of underlying health conditions can cause severe cramps. Some of the more common reasons include:

Ovarian Cysts

These fluid-filled sacs or pockets occur in or on the ovaries, often appearing in multiples. Many ovarian cysts are harmless, cause little to no pain, and disappear on their own within several months. Some women experience moderate pelvic pain or discomfort, along with abdominal bloating. Ovarian cysts have the potential to rupture and cause severe pain. If you have sudden pelvic or abdominal pain accompanied by fever or vomiting, seek medical care immediately. 


This often painful condition occurs when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. If you have endometriosis, you may experience severe cramps, particularly during your period. Other symptoms can include pain during sex, pain with urination or bowel movements, excessive bleeding, nausea, constipation, bloating, and fatigue. Endometriosis can also impact fertility. 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

If you’ve had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that was left untreated and are now experiencing severe cramps, your cramps may be due to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is a serious infection of a woman’s reproductive organs that can involve the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Other symptoms include lower abdominal pain, fever, a burning sensation with urination, discharge with an unpleasant odor, and bleeding between periods. If you think you may have PID, we recommend urgent care.

Ectopic Pregnancy

When a fertilized egg implants outside of the main uterine cavity, this is known as an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, implantation most commonly occurs in the fallopian tubes. At first, you can have all the normal early signs of pregnancy. In time, symptoms can involve light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. Some women experience shoulder pain or the urge to have a bowel movement. If the pregnancy continues, the fallopian tube can rupture, which results in heavy bleeding and severe cramps. This requires urgent medical attention.


Miscarriage refers to the loss of a pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation. It is estimated that 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Symptoms can include back pain, severe cramps, and brown or bright red bleeding. If you believe you are experiencing a miscarriage, please seek emergency care. 

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids, a type of non-cancerous growth, can develop within or on the uterus. They are very common, with as many as 70 to 80 percent of women affected by the age of 50. Fibroids can be as small as a tiny pea or larger than a melon. You may have a single growth or develop multiple fibroids. Although generally considered harmless, uterine fibroids can impact fertility, harm surrounding organs, and cause painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient symptoms. 

Although some women with fibroids don’t experience any issues at all, common symptoms include: 

  • Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
  • Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation and/or bloating
  • Pain in your pelvis or lower back
  • Increased menstrual cramping
  • Stomach swelling

What Do Severe Menstrual Cramps Mean?

If you are experiencing severe cramps, contact your doctor. In some cases, emergency medical care may be required. If it’s hard to judge the severity of cramps, look for any changes in your pain level, note when and where pain occurs, and consider whether your pain is accompanied by other symptoms. For example, if you have severe period cramps along with heavy bleeding each month, your doctor may suspect fibroids.

Treatment options for painful menstrual cramps depends on what is causing them. We encourage you to receive a proper medical diagnosis and learn which types of treatments can help resolve your pain. 

How to Stop Severe Menstrual Cramps

If your painful menstrual cramps are due to uterine fibroids, we have good news. Although many women believe that a hysterectomy –– the complete surgical removal of the uterus –– is the only available fibroid treatment, this just isn’t true. 

At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer a minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE can eliminate your fibroid symptoms, retain your fertility, and quickly get you back to living life to its fullest.

The many benefits of UFE over hysterectomy include NO:

  • Lengthy recovery
  • Hospital stay
  • General anesthesia
  • Scarring
  • Stitches
  • Removal of the uterus
  • Loss of fertility

Contact USA Fibroid Centers Today!

Find out whether you are a candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization by scheduling an initial consultation with one of our fibroid specialists. UFE is covered by most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, and is performed in dozens of USA Fibroid Centers nationwide.

To get started, simply give us a call at 855.615.2555 or fill out our online scheduling form. If you prefer a telemedicine appointment, we are now offering virtual doctor visits. Whether we see you in person or online, we are looking forward to helping you take back control of your life!

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