why does my back hurt when i have my period
Menstruation can consist of abdominal pain, bloating, and headaches for most women. In addition to the typical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, some women also suffer from low back pain. This low back pain can range from a subtle annoyance to debilitating pain during those days of the month. The pain experienced is typically located along the center portion of the low back. Back pain for most women will begin a few days prior to a menstrual cycle and usually subside after. The good news is that low back pain during menstruation is usually not serious and will subside for the most part. If this type of pain interferes with activities of daily living during you menstrual cycle, it s important to understand why it happens and how to cope with and manage the pain. What Causes Low Back Pain During Menstruation? Low back pain during menstruation is typically muscular in nature and thought to be caused by hormone changes.
Prostaglandins (hormones released during a menstrual cycle to promote uterine contraction to shed the uterine lining) can affect the lower back muscles. An excess of prostaglandins causes dysmenorrheal or painful menstruation. Heavy contractions can lead to low back pain, as the pain can radiate from the lower abdomen into the low back. Women with endometriosis may also experience low back pain during the menstrual cycle. If this is of concern, you may want to talk to your doctor about this diagnosis and proper treatment options. Some women benefit from starting over the counter acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, a couple days prior to menstruation. Exercise regularly. Studies show that women who exercise on a regular basis have less painful menstrual cramps and low back pain. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Apply heat or take warm baths. Avoid caffeine and chocolate.
Avoid alcohol intake and smoking. Some women may require birth control pills to help with menstrual pain. If your low back pain lingers past the menstrual cycle or you develop leg pain or weakness, you should seek medical attention, as this may be more than the typical low back pain stemming from prostaglandin release during menstruation.
We've all been through the special hell of menstrual cramps, but if you've experienced the added hurdle of lower back pain during your period, you're not alone. The phenomenon of "period back"вa term we've just coinedвis both alarmingly common and rooted in science. According to Rebecca Brightman, M. D. , an OB-GYN in Manhattan, the discomfort is a direct result of prostaglandins, otherwise known as fatty acids that cause uterine contractions. "Prostaglandins produced during your period cause the uterus to cramp and contract, resulting in back pain," she tells InStyle. "It's the same phenomenon as in labor but on a much smaller scale.
With labor contractions, you can feel the contractions in the back, and then they move toward the front. " But if the uterus is located toward the front of the body, why do we feel the effect in our backs? It could be referred pain, says. , a Los Angeles-based OB-GYN and author of. "Due to nerve fibers in the pelvis, you can perceive pain in another part of your body," she says. Ross estimates that 75 percent of women experience moderate back pain during their periods. Though generally perceived as a normal side effect, lower back pain during a period can also signal problems. "If the pain worsens over time, it could be endometriosis, which is characterized by severe menstrual pain," says Sarah Yamagutchi, M. D. , an OB-GYN in Los Angeles. The good-(ish) news: To combat period back, the same methods used to treat period cramps work. Advil, Motrin, and other non-steroidals disrupt the cycle of prostaglandins and ease pain, says Brightman.
And though exercising may be the last thing anyone wants to do during their period, the endorphins can help counterbalance bloating and PMS. In addition to natural remedies, like a heating pad or hot water bottle, Ross recommends using a period tracking app, like or, so you can prophylactically take an ibuprofen before your period even starts. She also says that filling your diet with calcium-rich foods like cheese, kale, and tofu can reduce cramping. VIDEO: Emily Ratajkowski Gets Real About Her Period If the pain becomes severe, Yamagutchi recommends asking your doctor about the birth control pill, which is known to lessen blood flow and decrease cramps. "If it gets to the point where it's interfering with your life, then you have to do something about it," she says. Otherwise, grab a heating pad, hop on the elliptical, and sleep it off.
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