Dysmenorrhea | Symptoms


What are the symptoms of menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps can feel like a dull ache in the abdomen, lower back, hips or inner thighs. The pain may start just before your period or at the beginning of your period and can last 1 to 3 days. The pain may be bad enough to keep you from doing your normal activities.

How can I tell if I have a more serious problem?

Talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Painful periods that started later in life
  • Pain at times other than the first couple of days of your period
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Pain that doesn't go away when you take medicine to relieve it


Dysmenorrhea by L French, M.D. (American Family Physician January 15, 2005, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050115/285.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 03/05