Dysmenorrhea – Painful Periods


Dysmenorrhea, also known as painful periods or menstrual cramps, is a common menstrual disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by lower abdominal pain, cramping, and discomfort that occurs during menstruation. Dysmenorrhea can be primary, which is menstrual pain without any underlying cause, or secondary, which is menstrual pain caused by an underlying condition.
Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by the release of prostaglandins, hormones that cause the uterus to contract and shed its lining during menstruation. Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by a variety of conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, and adenomyosis.

The main symptom of dysmenorrhea is lower abdominal pain that can be mild to severe and may also be accompanied by cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and headaches. Pain usually begins before or at the onset of menstruation and may last for several days.

To diagnose dysmenorrhea, a healthcare provider will review the patient’s medical history and perform a physical examination. Imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may also be used to rule out underlying conditions that may be causing the pain.
Treatment for dysmenorrhea depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. For primary dysmenorrhea, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be effective. Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, can also help to regulate hormone levels and reduce pain. For secondary dysmenorrhea, treatment may involve addressing the underlying condition with medications or surgery.


Women with dysmenorrhea should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest. They should also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Women who experience severe pain or other symptoms that interfere with daily activities should seek medical attention.

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