Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

For menstrual cramps, you may start by seeing your primary physician or a doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system (gynecologist). Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

You may want to make note of:

  • How severe your symptoms are and when your cramps first started
  • The dates when your last two menstrual periods began
  • Information about medical problems you've had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For menstrual cramps, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are my symptoms likely to change over time?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • What treatments or home remedies might help?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask additional questions that occur to you during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • How old were you when you first began menstruating?
  • How far apart are your menstrual periods, and how long do they typically last?
  • How heavy is your menstrual bleeding? Do you ever bleed between periods?
  • Where are your cramps located?
  • Do you have any other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, dizziness or headache?
  • Do your symptoms typically occur along with your period? Or at other times?
  • Do your symptoms cause you to limit your activities, stay home from work or school, or avoid exercise?
  • If you're sexually active, do you experience pain with intercourse?
  • What treatments have you tried so far, if any? Has anything helped?
  • Do any of the women in your family have a history of similar symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

You may find relief from menstrual cramps by taking a warm bath or applying a heating pad, hot water bottle or heat patch to your abdomen. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, also may help.

May 08, 2014