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Normal Menstrual Cycle - Topic Overview

What common symptoms are linked to the menstrual cycle? continued...

For about a week before a period, many women have some premenstrual symptoms. You may feel more tense or angry. You may gain water weight and feel bloated. Your breasts may feel tender. You may get acne. You also may have less energy than usual. A day or two before your period, you may start having pain (cramps) in your belly, back, or legs. These symptoms go away during the first days of a period.

When your ovary releases an egg in the middle of your cycle, you may have pain in your lower belly. You also might have red spotting for less than a day. Both are normal.

How can women take care of bleeding and symptoms?

You can use pads, tampons, or menstrual cups to manage bleeding. Whatever you use, be sure to change it at least every 4 to 8 hours. Pads may be best at night.

Many women can improve their symptoms by getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. It also may help to limit alcohol and caffeine. Try to reduce stress.

A heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm bath also can help with cramps. You can take an over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen before and during your period to reduce pain and bleeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about the menstrual cycle:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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