Having your period sucks. Having a painful period sucks even more. By the age of 20, we would have already learnt that period cramps are part and parcel of our monthly cycles. But sometimes, it hurts more than usual. So how do we know when we should see the doctor instead of popping more pink Panadols? We ask Dr Ma Li from the Women’s Centre at National University Hospital.

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Dr Ma says: Mild period cramps are usually normal. However, you should seek specialist treatment if the pain affects your daily life. For example, you should see a doctor if:

  • The pain gets worse over the years
  • You need days off from work
  • If you have other symptoms, such as chronic pelvic pain, pain on defecation, and pain during sexual intercourse

These may be an indication of underlying conditions such as endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women and may cause infertility.


TL;DR: Period cramps are perfectly normal. However, if it gets progressively worse and you actually need to take sick days to deal with the pain, you should get it checked out.