What Causes Period Pains?

What causes period pains?

If you experience chronic painful periods, it’s only natural to wonder why. Maybe you’re the only woman in your fam or firm, who gets severe cramps. Maybe your painful periods didn’t start until your twenties or even thirties. Whatever your situation, step one, don’t worry. You are a normal beautiful womxn and your body is pretty f**king magical, even when it’s doing you dirty but giving you a painful period. 

If you feel things are out of control or have changed from your normal monthly experience, it’s best to have a cheeky chat with your doctor to understand what’s happening. Here are some of the most common causes:


PMS affects 90% of menstruating people… well at least we’re in this together! PMS generally starts a few days before your period begins and continues into the first day or two of menstruation. Doctors think PMS is caused by estrogen and progesterone levels dipping before the beginning of each period. PMS has many symptoms including fatigue, irritability and menstrual cramps.


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a more severe form of PMS that affects about 5% of menstruating people. Doctors aren’t sure what causes PMDD, but people with high levels of stress, depression, or a family history of depression are more likely to experience it. Symptoms of PMDD are similar to PMS but more intense, including more painful cramps.


Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that may develop in the uterine lining. Basically they are lumps that can be so small that it’s impossible to see them with the naked eye, or big enough to change the shape of your uterus. They usually appear during childbearing years and often shrink or go away completely after menopause. Doctors can’t be sure who’ll develop uterine fibroids, but certain factors can increase one’s risk. These include age, African American ancestry, having a family history of fibroids and being overweight. Since fibroids grow in the uterine lining, they can cause heavy periods and painful menstrual cramps.

Ovarian cysts

A cyst is a usually harmless sac of fluid that forms in or on your body. Wow, this article just gets sexier and sexier doesn’t it?! Ovarian cysts develop in the ovaries, typically during ovulation. Many people develop at least one small cyst every month that naturally fades. However, some people have multiple or large ovarian cysts which can cause pain or complications. In these cases, medical treatment might be needed to manage the cysts. Ovarian cysts can also be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition where a hormone imbalance causes many small, harmless cysts to grow in the ovaries. This can cause painful periods, difficulty getting pregnant, insulin resistance and other health concerns. Symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, excess hair on the face and body, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, acne and thinning hair on the head. A doctor can prescribe treatments that help manage PCOS symptoms.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

When the uterus and ovaries become infected, this is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The infection usually begins when bacteria from a sexually transmitted infection (STI) makes its way to the reproductive organs. PID can also occur following a surgical procedure. While many people experience no symptoms of PID, for some it can cause painful cramps.


The uterine lining, also known as the endometrium, grows inside the uterus. But if you have endometriosis, your endometrium grows outside the uterus, usually in other parts of your reproductive organs like the ovaries or fallopian tubes. When your body tries to shed uterine tissue during your period, the endometrium growing outside the uterus has nowhere to go. It can become trapped in the body. This can cause painful cramps, heavy bleeding, irritation and inflammation. Luckily, most cases of endometriosis can be well managed with medicines and procedures.


This is a treatable condition where the endometrium grows into the muscle wall of the uterus. The endometrium can affect the entire uterus muscle, but it usually affects one spot. Adenomyosis is a benign condition, but it can cause severe cramps. Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes adenomyosis, but womxn who’ve had children or undergone uterine surgery have a higher risk of developing it.

If you’re like us, and hate reaching for the over the counter drugs, we’ve tested a few methods in our 10 ways to (naturally) ease period pain blog

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