Manhattan Women's Health and Wellness
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  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D17 New York, NY 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 104 New York, NY 10011
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Manhattan Women’s Health & Wellness provides comprehensive care to women of all ages in New York City. As the leading GYN specialists, we offer a wide range of gynecology services, including annual check-ups and routine pap smears, as well as Menstrual Cramps treatment and GYN procedures.


Menstrual Cramps | NYC Dysmenorrhea SpecialistMany women suffer from dysmenorrhea, another name for pain that happens just before or during your menstrual period. The main difference is the severity of the pain. There are two kinds of menstrual pain: primary and secondary.

  • Primary menstrual pain is the most common type. It’s the discomfort that accompanies menstruation. Primary dysmenorrhea usually begins just before you start bleeding. You may have mild cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea during periods. Pain begins in your lower back, abdomen, and possibly down your thighs. It usually lasts from 12 to 72 hours and usually lessens as you age.
  • Some other disorder causes secondary menstrual pain. It lasts much longer than the usual cycle and isn’t typically associated with vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. Some conditions that lead to secondary dysmenorrhea might be endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polyps, or adenomyosis.

Both primary and secondary dysmenorrhea comes with significant symptoms. For example, you may have:

  • Abdominal pain can at times be debilitating, potentially making you miss work or school
  • Pain that courses throughout your lower body
  • Pressure on your abdomen
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea

A physician should evaluate dysmenorrhea with a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. It may be a symptom or sign of a severe illness or condition.

Risk Factors

Again, many women experience some level of cramps during their periods. You’re at a higher level of risk. However, if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Are under the age of 30
  • Start puberty before the age of 11
  • Have heavy uterine bleeding (HUB)
  • Have irregular periods or abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)
  • Have never had a baby

Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual CrampsYour uterus contracts during your monthly cycle. If it contracts too hard or has some abnormality like fibroids or polyps inside your uterus, it cuts off the blood supply to the muscles surrounding it and can cause pain. Painful periods can disrupt your life and cause you to miss work, school, or sporting events. Menstrual cramps prevent you from doing other everyday activities.

Mild menstrual cramps are normal when your uterus contracts and dispels the blood and unfertilized eggs during ovulation. Painful periods tend to get more painful as you get older.

During your period, the cramps you feel result from the release of hormones like prostaglandins, a hormonal chemical that appears in your body when bleeding starts. Blood clots are stimulated by prostaglandin and cause blood vessel contractions that push the clots out and allow the blood vessels to relax.

How to Stop or Reduce Period Cramps

You can take steps to relieve mild menstrual cramps with some over-the-counter remedies and lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Put a hot water bottle or heating pad over your lower abdomen while lying down.
  • When the cramps first appear, take ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) you can get at the drugstore.
  • Massage your abdomen and lower back lightly or get a professional to give you a light massage.
  • Stay away from food and drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Rest as you need it.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Don‘t drink alcohol during your period.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Talk to your OBGYN doctor about certain oral contraceptives that are known to reduce cramps.

When natural treatments and over-the-counter NSAIDs don’t work to relieve your suffering, you may need to be seen by one of our doctors. A gynecologist should evaluate dysmenorrhea with a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. It may be a symptom or sign of a severe illness or condition.

Potential Tests

If your Manhattan gynecologist can’t find any infection or growths after doing a pelvic exam, he may want to do tests, such as:

  • An ultrasound, a safe imaging technique that uses soundwaves to create a picture of the female pelvis and helps identify things like fibroids, polyps, or other problems that can be causing pain
  • Other imaging tests also are available to find the cause of your dysmenorrhea, such as an MRI or CT scan.
  • Hysteroscopy, a quick procedure where the gynecologist will place a small camera into the uterus and see problems that may be causing your pain, along with fixing them at the same time

When to Talk to Your Gynecologist

Since dysmenorrhea is so common, many women don’t talk to their gynecologists about their cramps. But you don’t have to needlessly suffer when treatment is available to lessen your monthly struggles. Dysmenorrhea should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

You may have primary or secondary dysmenorrhea if your intense cramps last longer than two or three days. A pelvic exam can help doctors rule out some secondary causes of your pain. Your gynecologist feels for lumps or other abnormalities in your vagina, cervix, and uterus during the exam. Other tests may be required to rule out all secondary causes.

Cramps after periods are uncommon, and your doctor must check them. Through a physical exam and tests, your gynecologist may find the cause of cramps after your period. Common causes include:

  • A hormone imbalance
  • Birth control that causes bleeding for a few days after your periods
  • An incapacity of your uterus to expel all the blood each month
  • Diseases such as cancer or thyroid problems
  • Implantation from a fertility treatment worked, and you may be pregnant

When Cramps May Be Life-Threatening

Call 911 if you use tampons during your period and, in addition to your cramps, you:

  • Develop a rash that mimics a sunburn
  • Have a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Get diarrhea and vomiting
  • Feel dizzy enough to faint
  • Faint

You could be experiencing a life-threatening condition.

Have questions about Menstrual Cramps or Dysmenorrhea? Schedule an appointment with a top OBGYN specialist in Manhattan today.

Updated on Sep 23, 2023 by Manhattan Women’s Health and Wellness
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New York City Locations: Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D17
New York, NY 10028
(212) 389-1904
Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Midtown) 56 W 45th St, Ste 815
New York, NY 10010
(212) 677-7654
Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Union Square) 55 W 17th St, Ste 104
New York, NY 10011
(212) 378-9985
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice, and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding any symptoms or signs you may be having. Your physician should make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude a serious condition.