Period pain (known as dysmenorrhoea) can occur in up to 85% of women at any point in their menstruating years. Pain can range from mild to extremely severe in some cases. Dysmenorrhoea can be divided into two categories, primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhoea is the common type of period pain experienced by teenagers and young women where there is no underlying condition in the uterus (womb). It can be caused by raised levels of prostaglandins, which make the uterus contract more than normal.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea is caused by an underlying condition affecting the uterus (womb). These conditions can include endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis.
As well as the discomfort and aches, symptoms of period pain can also include headaches, tiredness, feeling faint, constipation or diarrhoea.