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What are the Common Symptoms of Menstruation?

Mary Ellen Popolo
Mary Ellen Popolo

Some of the most common symptoms of menstruation include cramps, moodiness, breast tenderness, and bloating. Other symptoms experienced during menstruation are headaches, backaches and fatigue. Although these are all common symptoms, not every woman experiences all of the symptoms during every menstrual period.

Girls can experience their first period around the age of 12. After the first period, menstruation occurs about every 25 to 28 days, though every woman's cycle is different. Menstruation ceases around the age of 50 when a woman has reached menopause. Menopause has occurred when a woman has not experienced menstruation for 12 consecutive months. Age at onset and cycle length varies from woman to woman, as do the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms experienced.

Abdominal cramps are more common during the period, rather than before the period.
Abdominal cramps are more common during the period, rather than before the period.

Symptoms of menstruation can be divided into to different types — those that are experienced once menstruation has begun and those that occur just prior to menstruation. The symptoms that occur leading up to the onset of the period are collectively referred to as pre-menstrual syndrome, commonly referred to as PMS. Many women experience the same symptoms during both PMS and menstruation.

Women with severe menstruation symptoms should consult with a doctor or gynecologist.
Women with severe menstruation symptoms should consult with a doctor or gynecologist.

Some symptoms may decrease or stop altogether once menstruation has started, while others may begin or intensify. Moodiness, irritability, and bloating are symptoms associated more with PMS than menstruation and normally go away once the period has begun. Cramps, headaches, and backaches are more commonly experienced during the period than before.

Cramps, bloating and breast tenderness are symptoms commonly associated with menstruation.
Cramps, bloating and breast tenderness are symptoms commonly associated with menstruation.

Pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen may relieve some symptoms of menstruation, such as cramps or headache, and special medications are manufactured that claim to relieve most symptoms of PMS. In addition, exercise is said to reduce cramps, while eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest are said to relieve some of the other symptoms.

Persistant nausea during menstruation may signal endometriosis or another underlying cause.
Persistant nausea during menstruation may signal endometriosis or another underlying cause.

Women who experience severe symptoms of menstruation such as migraines, excessive fatigue, or unusually heavy bleeding should consult with their doctor or gynecologist. Severe symptoms can be an indication of a more serious problem, and a doctor can rule out or diagnose any problems such as fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer. A doctor can also prescribe medication to help relieve severe symptoms of menstruation.

Breast tenderness or pain is a common symptom of menstruation.
Breast tenderness or pain is a common symptom of menstruation.

Menstruation occurs when the lining of the uterus is shed and expelled from the body through the vagina. The period can last from two to eight days with anything in between considered within the normal range. Menstruation occurs only in women who are not pregnant and who have yet gone through menopause. If a woman has become pregnant after her last cycle, menstruation will normally not occur. A missed period is usually one of the first indications that a woman may be pregnant.

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    • Abdominal cramps are more common during the period, rather than before the period.
      By: Ana Blazic Pavlovic
      Abdominal cramps are more common during the period, rather than before the period.
    • Women with severe menstruation symptoms should consult with a doctor or gynecologist.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Women with severe menstruation symptoms should consult with a doctor or gynecologist.
    • Cramps, bloating and breast tenderness are symptoms commonly associated with menstruation.
      By: lukasmajercik
      Cramps, bloating and breast tenderness are symptoms commonly associated with menstruation.
    • Persistant nausea during menstruation may signal endometriosis or another underlying cause.
      By: ryanking999
      Persistant nausea during menstruation may signal endometriosis or another underlying cause.
    • Breast tenderness or pain is a common symptom of menstruation.
      By: 9nong
      Breast tenderness or pain is a common symptom of menstruation.
    • A combination of cramps and headaches are common during a woman's period, but not before.
      By: Dragos Iliescu
      A combination of cramps and headaches are common during a woman's period, but not before.