Lower back pain is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which affects the majority of women during their periods. It isn’t usually serious, however, if you have an underlying condition, such as dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, fibroids or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, you may develop severe lower back pain during your periods.
Severe lower back pain during your periods is often caused by problems with your reproductive system. Common causes include:
Symptoms of PMS usually occur for a week leading up to your periods and stop once your period starts. Common symptoms include:
PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) refers to severe PMS symptoms that affect your ability to perform your usual activities. Common PMDD symptoms include:
Dysmenorrhea causes very painful period cramps as your womb contracts more than normal. Other common symptoms include:
Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue similar to the lining of your womb (endometrium) starts to grow elsewhere and attaches to other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This can cause scarring and affect your organs. Common symptoms include:
Severe lower back pain during your period can be treated by taking over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs a few days before your period starts. If this isn’t enough to relieve your pain, see your GP.
Abdominal cramps can worsen your lower back pain. You can ease your cramps by applying a heat pack, taking a warm shower or bath, having a massage, exercising or trying relaxation techniques (eg breathing exercises).
Period pain and lower back pain during your period can be made worse by certain lifestyle habits. To reduce and/or better manage your pain, you can therefore try following a healthy diet, staying hydrated, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and foods high in salt, and quitting smoking.
Vitamin B and magnesium supplements can also help relieve pain during your periods. However, you should speak to your GP before taking any supplements.
How painful is dysmenorrhea?
Pain from dysmenorrhea varies in intensity. For some women, the pain is mild and lasts only one to two days. For others the pain persists for the duration of their period and is so severe that they can’t perform their usual daily activities.
When should you go to the hospital for severe period cramps?
If your period pain is so severe that you are doubled over in pain, fainting or vomiting, call NHS 111. They will talk to you about your symptoms and may suggest you go to hospital.
Why is my period pain unbearable?
Severe period pain can be caused by a variety of underlying health conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (a severe form of PMS).
Do periods get more painful with age?
Some women develop more painful and/or heavier periods after age 40. If your period pain is affecting your quality of life or you are concerned, see your GP.
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