6 things that could be making your period worse

Consuming a lot of caffeine could be causing your period cramps to be more painful.

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Consuming a lot of caffeine could be causing your period cramps to be more painful.
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  • Certain things can make your period heavier and more painful and knowing what these things are may help you find ways to make your periods a bit more manageable.
  • If your diet is high in salt, you may feel more bloated and uncomfortable while on your period.
  • Consuming a lot of caffeine can sometimes worsen PMS symptoms.

When it comes to periods, there are certain habits and medical conditions that could be making you feel even worse each month. So INSIDER asked doctors about things that may be causing your period to be more painful or extra uncomfortable and how you might be able to deal with them.

Keep in mind that although this list can be a helpful reference, if you’re experiencing extremely painful periods you may want to see a doctor in order to receive a proper medical evaluation and specialized treatment options.

Here are some things that could potentially be making your period worse.

High stress levels can worsen the symptoms that occur before and during your period

Keeping your stress levels low could potentially help make your period symptoms more manageable, Dr. Terry Dunn, an OB urogynecologist at Foothills Urogynecology, told INSIDER.

Although it’s not always possible to eliminate every stressor in your life, certain practices like regularly talking to a mental health professional or incorporating meditation into your daily routine may help you to better manage your stress levels.

You may have a medical condition that is making your periods more painful

If you're experiencing painful periods, you may want to tell your doctor.

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If you’re experiencing painful periods, you may want to tell your doctor.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In some cases, having exceptionally painful or miserable periods could be a sign you have a medical condition, such as adenomyosis or endometriosis.

Adenomyosis, a condition where the glands that are normally found in the lining of the uterus are found in the muscle of the uterus, can make periods heavier and more painful,” Dr. Kelly Treder, MPH; Boston University/Boston Medical Center, told INSIDER.

Endometriosis can also be a common cause of both painful periods and painful sex, said Dr. Treder.

“Endometriosis is a condition where the glands that are normally found in the lining of the uterus are located outside of the uterus, usually attached to other organs in the pelvis,” she explained.

Although both conditions are chronic, certain medications and therapies may help those suffering from them.

Read More: 7 scary signs you could have endometriosis

Drinking a lot of caffeine can make period symptoms worse

Drinking caffeine can potentially boost your estrogen levels, which can exacerbate both your period symptoms and premenstrual symptoms, which typically occur a week or two before your period begins.

If your period-related symptoms feel worse than usual, Dr. Dunn said cutting back on caffeine may help you feel a bit better.

If your diet contains a lot of salt, you may feel more bloated and uncomfortable while on your period

Dr. Dunn said that your diet can oftentimes impact the intensity of your period-related symptoms, so changing up what you eat might help you feel a bit better.

For example, you may want to cut back on foods that are high in salt because they can cause you to experience excessive bloating or water retention.

Read More: 12 foods to avoid when you have period cramps

While you’re on your period you may also want to eat things that can help boost your energy and help potentially reduce your premenstrual symptoms, such as foods that calcium-rich (like cheese or yogurt), fruit, vegetables, and whole grains (like rice or oatmeal), according to WebMD.

You’re drinking a lot of alcohol, which can potentially make your cramps more painful

Dr. Kecia Gaither, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, told INSIDER that drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can lower your magnesium levels and raise your prostaglandins, which can cause cramping.

“Every month when the uterus starts to shed its lining, prostaglandins are released. Prostaglandins are natural chemicals in the body that stimulate mini-contractions in the uterus causing the period cramps that can be severe for many women,” Dr. Treder said.

In addition to cutting back on alcohol consumption, taking an anti-inflammatory the day before your period is expected to begin can potentially lessen the intensity of some of your cramps, said Dr. Dunn.

You could have fibroids located within your uterus lining that may be exacerbating period pains

Dr. Gaither said that if fibroids, benign uterine tumors, are located in your uterus’s lining, you may feel even more pain than usual during your menstrual cycle.

She also said that if you have fibroids you should talk to your doctor about surgical therapy, medications, and other treatment options that may reduce the symptoms worsened by the benign tumors.

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