Dysmenorrhea or painful menstrual periods is a common complaint with many women and adolescent girls. It is characterized by cramps and pain in the lower abdomen. Dysmenorrhea can be broadly classified as Primary and Secondary. While primary dysmenorrhea is identified with menstrual cycles, secondary dysmenorrhea can be traced to pelvic diseases such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, lesions and other causes such as IUD or uterine fibroids. Primary Dysmenorrhea usually surfaces with early ovulatory cycles and can start in the teens or 20s. Primary dysmenorrhea is not indicative of any abnormal condition. Accompanying symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal bloating. It is noticed that symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea reduce after pregnancy and in latter years. Pain can be a dull ache or spasmodic and cramping. Since the uterus goes into spasms to expel the endometrial tissue during menstruation, it leads to pain and cramps when the cervical passage is narrow. Pain radiates to the lower back and thighs.
A physician will conduct a pelvic examination to check for any possible growth, lesions or abnormalities. Those with a history of dysmenorrhea are usually advised to take medications a couple of days prior to menstruation. Adequate rest, good diet and exercise play a role in relieving the symptoms of dysmenorrhea. Mild analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can relieve the pain and discomfort. Often oral contraceptives are prescribed to regulate the hormones and alleviate the symptoms of dysmenorrhea.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 23, 2019