Why Are My Periods Getting More Painful? Understanding the Causes and Finding Relief

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “why are my periods getting more painful”? If you’ve started to notice that your monthly cycle is causing you more discomfort than usual, you’re not alone. Pain during menstruation is a common experience for many women, but it’s important to understand why this is happening and what you can do about it.

While period pain can be caused by a variety of factors, there are a few common culprits behind the increased discomfort. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can impact the way your body responds to your menstrual cycle. Additionally, conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease can all cause increased pain and discomfort during your period. Finally, lifestyle factors like stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise can all play a role in the severity of your menstrual cramps.

Despite the fact that period pain is often dismissed as a natural part of being a woman, it’s important to seek help if you’re experiencing severe discomfort. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, you can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with your monthly cycle and get back to feeling your best. So the next time you find yourself asking, “why are my periods getting more painful?”, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider and discuss your options.

Menstrual Cramps

As if having your period isn’t bad enough, some women experience painful cramps during this time of the month. Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus as it sheds its lining. The severity of the cramps can vary from woman to woman and can even vary from month to month for a single woman. But why do some women experience increasingly painful cramps?

One reason may be hormonal changes. Prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that plays a role in pain and inflammation, are released in response to the shedding of the uterine lining. Women who have higher levels of prostaglandins may experience more painful cramps. Additionally, as a woman ages, her hormone levels can fluctuate, potentially leading to increased cramping.

Another potential reason for worsening menstrual cramps could be related to underlying conditions such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, which can cause painful cramps and heavy periods. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths on the uterus that can also lead to painful menstrual cramps.

It’s important to pay attention to any changes in the severity or duration of your menstrual cramps. If you experience increasingly painful cramps or any other unusual symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine if there might be an underlying condition causing your pain and recommend treatment options. In the meantime, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate menstrual cramps.


Dysmenorrhea is a medical condition that causes painful menstrual periods. It can either start during the teenage years or occur later in a woman’s life. The pain varies from minor cramping to severe pain that interferes with daily activities. The pain may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache

  • Primary dysmenorrhea: This is the most common type of dysmenorrhea. It is caused by uterine contractions that are too strong. These excessive contractions restrict blood flow to the uterus and cause it to produce chemicals that increase pain.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea: This type of dysmenorrhea is caused by an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The pain is greater than what is experienced during primary dysmenorrhea, and it can occur outside of menstrual periods.
  • Treatment options: For primary dysmenorrhea, pain relief medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or hormonal birth control is used. For secondary dysmenorrhea, the underlying medical condition is treated. It is important to seek medical attention if the pain is severe or disrupts normal activities.

Impact of dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea can have a significant impact on a woman’s life. Besides causing pain, it can interfere with daily activities, work, and school. The pain can also lead to anxiety, depression, and psychological stress.

Studies have found that girls with dysmenorrhea tend to miss school more often than those without it. Women with this condition tend to experience poor work performance and have lower job satisfaction.

Prevention methods

There are several ways to prevent or alleviate dysmenorrhea.

  • Exercise: Regular exercise helps reduce menstrual cramps, improve mood, and increase circulation. Yoga, stretching, and cardio exercise can be beneficial.
  • Dietary changes: Reducing the intake of caffeine, salt, sugar, and alcohol can help reduce menstrual pain.
  • Heat therapy: Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the lower abdomen can help reduce pain.
  • Acupuncture: This is a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves inserting needles into specific points in the skin. It has been shown to alleviate menstrual pain in some cases.


Dysmenorrhea is a common condition that affects many women. It can cause significant pain, interfere with daily activities and work, and lead to psychological stress. There are several treatment options, including medication, hormonal birth control, and addressing underlying medical conditions.

Treatment Options Pros Cons
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Effective for pain relief Can cause stomach irritation and bleeding; not recommended for women with a history of gastrointestinal problems or ulcers
Hormonal birth control/augmentation Can reduce pain and regulate menstrual cycles Can cause negative side effects such as mood changes and weight gain
Surgery May be necessary for severe cases Requires anesthesia and a surgical procedure; may be costly

It is important to seek medical attention if the pain is severe or disrupts daily life. With the help of healthcare professionals, dysmenorrhea can be managed effectively.


Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. This can result in extremely painful periods, as well as infertility and other issues. The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, but it is thought to be related to hormonal imbalances.

  • One theory is that the tissue that is shed during a woman’s period each month flows back up through the fallopian tubes and implants in other parts of the body, causing endometriosis.
  • Another theory is that endometrial cells can be transported to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
  • There may also be a genetic component to endometriosis, as it tends to run in families.

Regardless of the cause, endometriosis can be a painful and debilitating condition. Treatment options include hormone therapy, surgery, and pain management. It is important for women who are experiencing painful periods to speak with their healthcare provider, as early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further complications.

One thing that can be helpful for women with endometriosis is to track their menstrual cycles and pain levels. Keeping a menstrual diary can help women to identify patterns and triggers, as well as provide valuable information for their healthcare providers. Below is an example of a menstrual diary that women can use to track their periods and pain levels.

Date Day of cycle Pain level (scale of 1-10) Notes
1/1/2021 1 6 Cramps, headache
1/2/2021 2 7 Sharp pain in lower back
1/3/2021 3 8 Sharp pain in pelvic area

By tracking their periods and pain levels, women can better understand their bodies and work with their healthcare providers to find the best treatment options for their individual needs.


Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. They are quite common, and many women have them without experiencing any symptoms. However, in some cases, fibroids can make periods more painful.

If you have fibroids, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Periods that last longer than usual
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urination

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but they are thought to be linked to hormones. Specifically, fibroids grow in response to high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. This is why fibroids often develop during reproductive years and tend to shrink once menopause occurs.

If your fibroids are making your periods more painful, there are several treatment options available. These include medication to help manage symptoms, surgery to remove the fibroids, or uterine artery embolization (UAE), which involves blocking the blood supply to the fibroids.

Pros Cons
Medications can reduce pain and heavy bleeding without surgery. Medications may not be effective for all women with fibroids, and they can cause side effects.
Surgery may be necessary for larger or more problematic fibroids. Surgery carries risks such as bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding organs.
UAE is a less invasive alternative to surgery. UAE can cause pain, and there is a risk of infection or damage to nearby organs.

If you suspect you have fibroids or are experiencing more painful periods, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can assess your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a condition that affects the reproductive system in women. It is caused by the infection and inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. This condition can lead to severe pain during menstrual cycles, among other symptoms. The cause of PID is usually the sexually transmitted bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. However, other kinds of bacteria that are found in the vagina and cervix can also cause PID.

  • Signs and symptoms of PID include:
  • Lower abdominal pain and cramping, especially during menstruation
  • Painful urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell
  • Fever, nausea, and vomiting (in severe cases)

PID can cause complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition where the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. If left untreated, PID can cause pelvic abscess, which is a collection of pus in the pelvis. Pelvic abscess is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

The treatment for PID usually involves a combination of antibiotics. The antibiotics may be given orally or through injections. It is essential to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve before completing the treatment. Pain relief medication can also be prescribed to manage the pain associated with PID. In severe cases or when complications arise, hospitalization may be necessary.

Treatment Duration
Oral antibiotics 14 days
Intramuscular injections 14 days
Hospitalization In severe cases or when complications arise

If you suspect that you have PID or any other reproductive health issue, seek medical attention immediately. Early detection and treatment can prevent complications and improve your quality of life.


Adenomyosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow into the muscles of the uterus. This can cause the uterus to become enlarged and painful, especially during menstruation. Here are some things you should know about adenomyosis:

  • Adenomyosis is most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 40-50
  • The exact cause of adenomyosis is unknown, but it is thought to be related to hormonal imbalances
  • Symptoms of adenomyosis can include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, bloating, and painful cramps

If you suspect you may have adenomyosis, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend certain tests and exams to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Here are some common treatments for adenomyosis:

Medications: Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or hormonal medications to help manage the symptoms of adenomyosis.

Surgical options: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected tissue. This could include a hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus.

Pros of Surgical Treatment Cons of Surgical Treatment
Removes the affected tissue and can provide long-term relief May lead to infertility if the uterus is removed
May be the best option for severe cases of adenomyosis Carries risks associated with any surgical procedure

Ultimately, the best approach for managing adenomyosis will depend on various factors, such as the severity of symptoms and your individual health history. By working closely with your healthcare provider, you can develop a personalized treatment plan to effectively manage the condition and reduce painful periods.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have high levels of androgens, or male hormones, which can lead to irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and infertility. PCOS can also cause more painful periods due to the abnormal hormone levels and cysts that form in the ovaries.

  • Irregular periods: Women with PCOS often have irregular periods, which means their menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than average. This can make it difficult to predict when their next period will occur and when to expect more painful cramps.
  • Ovarian cysts: PCOS can cause small cysts to form in the ovaries, which can become enlarged and painful, especially during menstruation.
  • Hormonal imbalances: PCOS causes an imbalance of hormones in the body, including estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to more painful cramps and heavier periods.

There are several treatments available for PCOS, including birth control pills, hormone therapy, and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you suspect you may have PCOS or if you experience painful periods or other menstrual irregularities.

Common Symptoms of PCOS:
Irregular periods Ovarian cysts
Acne Hair growth on the face, chest, or back
Weight gain or difficulty losing weight Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant

PCOS can be a challenging condition to manage, but with the right treatment and support, women with PCOS can still lead happy, healthy lives.

Why Are My Periods Getting More Painful? FAQs

1. Is it normal for periods to become more painful over time?

Yes, it’s common for periods to become more painful as you age. This is because of changes in your hormone levels and factors such as stress, diet, and exercise.

2. Can certain foods make period pain worse?

Yes, certain foods such as caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and foods high in sugar can contribute to menstrual pain.

3. How can I reduce period pain?

There are a few things you can try to reduce period pain, such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, using heat therapy (like hot water bottles), and supplements like magnesium or omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Should I see a doctor if my period pain is getting worse?

If your period pain is getting worse and interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. They can rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing the pain.

5. Can birth control pills help with period pain?

Yes, birth control pills can help reduce period pain in some cases. They work by regulating hormone levels, which can prevent the painful symptoms associated with menstruation.

6. Are there any other medical treatments for period pain?

In some cases, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen, or prescribe stronger pain medications.

7. Is it possible to prevent period pain from getting worse?

While it may not be possible to completely prevent period pain from getting worse, taking steps like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying hydrated, and managing stress can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with menstruation.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading! We hope these FAQs have helped you understand why your periods may be getting more painful and what you can do to manage the pain. Remember, every person’s experience with menstruation is unique, so if you’re concerned about your symptoms, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Don’t forget to check back for more helpful health information in the future!

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