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Do I Need to See My Doctor for Menstrual Cramps?


Updated June 10, 2014

Question: Do I Need to See My Doctor for Menstrual Cramps?
Answer: While it’s perfectly normal for girls and women to experience mild cramps during menstruation, there are times when women need to call the doctor about painful periods. Fortunately, the majority of women get effective relief from menstrual cramps using self-help remedies. However, if self-help remedies fail to provide effective relief from your menstrual cramps after 3 months, contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

See: Self-Help Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Medical Treatments for Menstrual Cramps

Of course, there are other times when you should call your doctor right away.

If you have menstrual cramps accompanied by a fever, an increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, if you experience severe pain, or if your period is more than one week late, and your have been sexually active you should seek immediate medical care.

While many women experience menstrual cramping the first few months after having an IUD inserted, you should have it removed if menstrual cramps continue after 6 months. You’ll also need to choose another type of contraceptive if you still want to avoid pregnancy.

See: IUD Removal

Additionally, seek your doctor’s advice anytime you experience severe or sudden menstrual cramps. While menstrual blood clots and clumps of tissue are a normal part of your menstrual flow, when they occur together when severe, menstrual cramps or other symptoms contact your doctor for advice.

Finally, if you experience menstrual-like cramps at times other than during menstruation, more than five days before you expect your monthly period, or if your cramps last longer than your menstrual period, contact your doctor. You may have something as benign as Mittelschmerz. However, only your doctor can determine the cause of your menstrual cramps.

Anytime you have questions or concerns about your menstrual cycle or any other health issue, contact your doctor for advice.

Things to Know About Menstrual Cramps
What Causes Menstrual Cramps


Painful Menstrual Periods; Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003150.htm; accessed 05/21/08.

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