SARASOTA- Can menstrual cramps be almost as painful as a heart attack? That’s what one doctor is seeing in a new study.

As many as 90% of women experience menstrual cramp pain or dysmenorrhea.

“There’s a difference in severity some women have mild uterine cramping,” Dr. KASH said. “While others are incapacitated sometimes the entire length of their period missing work or school.”

Women can feel cramping or pressure in their abdomen, and pain can spread to their hips and lower back.

A professor of reproductive health at University College London told Quartz studying patients show this pain can be almost as painful as having a heart attack.

“Something like a heart attack like you said is something we can at least have an idea of the significance of the pain level , so offering women the opportunity to talk about the pain and give them a point of reference I think is really helpful.”

Dr. KASH, Kelly-Anne Schedd-Hartman with Swor Women’s Care says women’s pain is frequently ignored.

“Often times women are thinking that this pain is normal,” Dr. KASH said. “They hear from their mom’s that this is a normal course of pain, they had pain with their periods so they expect daughters will have pain with their period, so often times they think that it’s actually normal when in fact it may not be.”

Ibuprofen and NSAIDs are commonly used to treat menstrual pain, but sometimes they aren’t used properly.

“It’s important to remember that in order to block that pain pathway,” Dr. KASH said. “You do need to take those NSAIDS about two days before you start your period, and a lot of women aren’t using them until they start their period so that’s not going to block pain as well.”

Hormonal birth control can also be helpful with reducing pain, but it’s important for women to discuss their pain with a doctor who specializes in women’s care.

“It’s very important to have a care provider diagnose you with the cause for the pain,” Dr. KASH said. “Because you may need surgical intervention in order to improve or completely alleviate your pain.”

Severe pain could point to a more serious condition like endometriosis or uterine fibroids.