Real talk: Having a period is terrible. Even under the best of circumstances—when you're just dealing with mere cramps, bloating, and cravings—I don't know a single woman who enjoys frolicking around in her nicest white dress in a field of flowers (tampon commercials, I'm looking at you). Like most women, I've accepted my period as a relatively harmless, if very annoying, fact of life.
However, some women aren't so lucky. If it suddenly feels like an army of tiny dancers are doing a cha-cha on your uterus, don't panic! There may be a perfectly reasonable, non-scary explanation for your period pain. First give yourself a little time to see if your cycle re-regulates itself. "If there is a big change in your periods over two or three cycles, where the pain is not being relieved by an over-the-counter medication such as Aleve or ibuprofen, then it’s time to be evaluated by a healthcare provider," Vanessa Cullins, M.D., vice president for external medical affairs at Planned Parenthood tells Refinery29.
Advocating for your body is crucial and being able to pinpoint your symptoms to your doctor will help you in getting the right diagnosis. If you're not sure which end of the spectrum your period pain falls under, our friends at Refinery29 have rounded up the most common causes of period pain, as well as tips and treatment info so you know when to pop an Advil—and when to head to your doc. [Read the full story on Refinery29!]