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I’ve been on my period since Monday. I’m supposed to get off Saturday but my period is still on. My lower stomach has been hurting since Friday. I don’t know what it is.

Thank you for reaching out. Please note that while we can provide information, Ask the Experts does not replace care or guidance from a doctor. Please consult your medical health professional or gynecologist for medical advice and treatment.

Menstrual cycles (periods) occur every three to four weeks and can last up to seven days. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy, and may not always be the same every month. Heavier periods can last longer than normal. Your menstrual cycle can be impacted by many factors such as stress, change in diet or weight, lack of sleep, or increased athletic activity. Some birth control methods can also affect the length of your period and cause cramping.

Cramping is caused by contractions of the uterine muscle. When you cramp, you can feel pain in your lower stomach, hips, lower back, and thighs. Some women find relief from cramps by:

  • Taking a pain reliever such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen
  • Using a heating pad
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Getting a massage
  • Avoiding caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol
  • Exercising

Having a prolonged painful period could mean there is a problem with your uterus or point to other health concerns such as a thyroid imbalance. If your period lasts more than one week or you’re still experiencing pain, we recommend making an appointment with your gynecologist. We hope you feel better soon.