Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can period cramps feel like indigestion?"
How can I tell the difference when I'm on my period?
Period cramps are one of the most common problems that women have. Fortunately, although they can be uncomfortable, they are rarely a major medical problem. Generally speaking, the cramps that come with the menstrual cycle will be strongest on the day or two prior to the period and then the first two days or so of the period. After that, they should improve. You can also tell the difference between indigestion and period cramps because period cramps tend to be lower down in the abdomen and pelvis, whereas indigestion may cause a more gassy feeling which moves around the abdomen or may be located more in the upper abdomen and perhaps associated with heartburn. If you think these are period cramps and they are very severe or debilitating for you then you may be suffering from something called dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a fancy medical term for severely painful periods. If you think you have this, you should talk to your primary care doctor or your OB GYN doctor, as sometimes dysmenorrhea does require treatment, such as with oral contraceptive pills. If the discomfort is minimal, you can probably get by without seeing your doctor, but you should always call them if you have more questions or concerns.
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