Menstrual Cycle & Leg Pain

Many women experience leg pain during their menstrual cycle
Many women experience leg pain during their menstrual cycle (Image: Image by, courtesy of tata_aka_T)

A women's monthly menstrual cycle can result in a variety of different types of pain, including leg pain. Common types of discomfort and pain associated with menstrual cycles include abdominal pain and cramping, lower back pain, nausea and stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. In women who are younger than 30, cramps and menstrual discomfort are the No. 1 reason for missing work and school. Often, however, menstrual discomfort eases with age and having children.


Many women experience leg pain associated with their monthly menstrual cycle. According to Frederick Gaupp, MD of eMedicineHealth, approximately 10 percent of young women are disabled by monthly menstrual pain, including leg pain. Monthly cramping can be extreme and is often in combination with heavy bleeding that may last from three to seven days. Leg pain can also be associated with using birth control methods that include progesterone and estrogen therapy, such as the birth control pill, vaginal contraceptive ring or implants.

Leg Pain

The condition of menstrual cycles and leg pain may be a minor form of monthly PMS pain for many women. However, it can also be an indication of significant health problems that should be addressed by seeking medical attention. Dr. Gaupp indicates that blood clots or pulmonary thrombosis can result from hormone medications and one of the symptoms of this condition is leg pain. Leg pain can be of particular concern if a woman is older than 35 and also smokes.


Dr. Gaupp indicates that home treatment is often adequate for minor leg pain, lower back pain and abdominal pain. Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can also be helpful and may need to be started just prior to when a woman's period starts. Additionally, using a heating pad over the affected area can be helpful, as can massaging the legs and lower back.

Seeking Medical Attention

While in many instances home treatment is more than adequate for most monthly menstrual pain, including leg pain, Dr. Gaupp indicates that occasionally it may be important and necessary to seek additional medical treatment. If a woman experiences unusually significant pain or heavy bleeding, she should seek medical attention. Additionally, if pain lasts beyond her normal period, she should go to her doctor. Also, if a woman is over 25 and suddenly begins to experience painful menstrual cycles, she should see her doctor.


Dr. Gaupp states that leg pain can usually be avoided during a menstrual cycle by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising. Eating a diet high in fiber and low in fat can also decrease the likelihood of experiencing menstrual pain. He also suggest that women over 35 stop smoking, particularly if they are using hormone birth control, such as the birth control pill, vaginal contraceptive ring, patches or implants, as smoking may lead to blood clots in the legs.

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