Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for painful menstrual periods. The condition involves painful cramps with or without back pain.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea:
Primary dysmenorrhea has no underlying cause and is part of the regular menstrual cycle for many.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is a result of conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, PMS, sexually transmitted infection or uterine fibroids.
Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea
Women with dysmenorrhea may experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms can be continuous or may come and go throughout the course of the period. Most women experience the worst symptoms 24 hours after the start of the period and ending after 48 hours.
Treatment of Dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhea can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help lessen the contractions of the uterus and reduce symptoms. These medications should be taken when the period begins and continued for a few days.
Treatment for secondary dysmenorrhea focuses on treating the underlying cause of the condition, and may vary to include drug therapy or surgical procedures. A hysterectomy is often considered as a last resort treatment for severe or unresponsive cases.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine
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