Bad Menstrual Cramps: Indicators of severe menstrual cramps

Bad menstrual cramps or severe menstrual cramps is used by women to commonly refer to very serious menstrual cramps.

In some way, it seems to imply there are ‘good cramps’.

The word ‘bad’ is used to distinguish severe menstrual cramps from usual menstrual cramps which most women suffer from and could be handled at home without seeking medical care

Indicators Of Bad Menstrual Cramps

Sometimes, women with the primary cramps (primary dysmenorrhea) may have a severe episode that may

warrant medical attention. Indicators of a severe cramp include

  1. Pain not responding to usual maximum home therapy.
  2. Pain with sudden change of severity or location.

3. Multiple home care options tried but you do not seem to find the best that suits you.

4. Extremely severe pains.

5. Serious associated symptoms like fainting and dizziness.

Indicators Of An Underlying Disease

These are the indicators of secondary dysmenorrhea, meaning your severe menstrual cramps are due to a disease that should be treated.

  1. Onset of menstrual cramps in the 20s or 30s, after relatively painless menstrual cycles in the past.
  2. Associated infertility
  3. Heavy menstrual bleeding or irregular cycles
  4. Painful sexual intercourse( Dyspareunia)
  5. Vaginal discharge especially if it is offensive with yellow or green coloration.
  6. Pain that is not responding to the usual pain-killers especially the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  7. Sudden change of intensity and/or location of the usual menstrual cramp.


The treatment for severe menstrual cramps is determined by its type, whether it is primary menstrual cramps with no cause identified or secondary cramps caused by some disease of the pelvic organs.

Different scenarios are possible

  • If you are having primary menstrual cramps since you started menstruating and it usually gets really severe so the extend that home remedies do
    not work, then you will have to be given prescription medications. Severe cases will need emergency treatment with stronger drugs in the hospital. Thereafter, more potent drugs will be prescribed to control the symptoms.
  • If you have been having primary cramps since menarche and it is becoming severe, it may not be the usual cramps you have been having. It should be evaluated. You may develop secondary cramps added to the primary cramps and therefore any diseases should be excluded and before pain is simply controlled. Be careful not to assume it is the usual in such cases.
  • If you have not been having cramps and develop severe menstrual cramps, please visit your doctor or emergency unit. Do not attempt treating at home for days. You may allow time for any disease process to progress making treatment even more difficult.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a disease that is causing you menstrual cramps and it is suddenly very severe, it may be an additional disease process or a complication of the known disease. Please visit your doctor.

Bottom line? Bad menstrual cramps should be evaluated at the hospital and should not be treated at home before this evaluation is done to exclude treatable causes. After this, more appropriate therapy will be prescribed that could be used at home.

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