Dysmenorrhea or Painful Menstruation

Pelvis | Gynecology | Dysmenorrhea or Painful Menstruation (Symptom)


Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain associated with menstruation. Dysmenorrhea may be classified as primary or secondary.


Primary dysmenorrhea from the beginning and usually lifelong severe and frequent menstrual cramping is caused by severe and abnormal uterine contractions. It is extremely common, occurring at least occasionally in almost all women. In approximately 10% of women, dysmenorrheal is sufficiently severe to cause episodes of partial or total disability. Pain occurs typically in the lower abdomen or back and is crampy, occurring in successive waves – apparently in conjunctions with intense uterine contractions and slight cervical dilation. Pain usually begins just before, or at the onset of, menstrual flow and lasts from a few hours to 1 day or more. Pain is frequently associated with nausea, vomiting, and frequent bowel movements with intestinal cramping. Dizziness, fainting, pallor, and obvious distress may also be observed.

Secondary dysmenorrhea, due to some physical cause and usually of later onset represent painful menstrual periods caused by another medical condition present in the body (i. e. pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis).

Dysmenorrhea can feature different kinds of pain, including sharp, throbbing, dull, nauseating, burning, or shooting pain. Dysmenorrhea may precede menstruation by several days or may accompany it, and it usually subsides as menstruation tapers off. Dysmenorrhea may coexist with excessively heavy blood loss, known as menorrhagia.


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