New research suggests the monthly misery may actually be altering a woman's brain.
Taiwanese researchers used a type of brain scan to analyze the anatomy of a woman's brain. They found women who reported experiencing moderate to severe menstrual cramps had brain abnormalities that existed even when they weren't experiencing pain.
Exactly how the changes in the brain could affect women's pain levels is unknown. But, researchers say those abnormalities suggest menstrual pain may have similarities with other chronic pain conditions and that over time those bouts of aches make the brain unusually sensitive to pain, making the experience worse.