How can I know if the dysmenorrhea (pain of menstrual cramps) I'm having is normal?

If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps or cramps that last for more than 2 or 3 days, contact your healthcare provider. Both primary and secondary menstrual cramps can be treated, so it's important to get checked.

First, you will be asked to describe your symptoms and menstrual cycles. Your healthcare provider will also perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor inserts a speculum (an instrument that lets the clinician see inside the vagina) and examines your vagina, cervix, and uterus. The doctor will feel for any lumps or changes, and a small sample of vaginal fluid may be taken for testing.

If secondary dysmenorrhea is suspected, further tests may be needed. If a medical problem is found, your healthcare provider will discuss treatments.

If you use tampons and develop the following symptoms, get medical help right away:

  • Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness, fainting, or near fainting
  • A rash that looks like a sunburn

These are symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening illness.

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