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Key Information About Dysmenorrhea

Menstrual Cramps

Also known as menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea is uterine pain around the time of menses.

Worldwide, prevalence of this condition ranges between 15.8 and 89.5 percent, with higher prevalence rates reported in the adolescent population.

Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecologic complaint and a leading cause of missing school or work among female adolescents and young adults.

Dysmenorrhea Is More Prevalent Among Adolescents



Primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain without organic disease)

Secondary dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain associated with underlying pelvic pathology)


Dysmenorrhea is caused by prostaglandin, a physiologically active lipid compound. Menstrual cramps occur due to contractions in the uterus.

If contractions are severe during the menstrual cycle, it can press against nearby blood vessels.

This briefly stops oxygen supply to the uterus, thereby leading to pain and cramps.

The most common cause of secondary dysmenorrhea is endometriosis.

"The cause of dysmenorrhea depends on whether the condition is primary or secondary. With primary dysmenorrheal, women experience abnormal uterine contractions due to chemical imbalance in the body. Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by other medical conditions," said Dr. Neelam Suri, Senior Consultant of Gynecology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi.


Pain in the lower abdomen, fatigue, vomiting, pain that radiates down the legs, cramping in the lower abdomen, low back pain, nausea and diarrhea are some symptoms of dysmenorrhea.

If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps that last for more than 2-3 days, you should consult a gynecologist.

Ultrasound detected signs of endometriosis in approximately one-third of young women presenting with severe dysmenorrhea, according to Italian research published online December 5 2022 in Fertility and Sterility.

Low Back Pain Is a Symptom of Dysmenorrhea

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons


Doctors usually review the medical history, including symptoms and menstrual cycles. Pelvic exam, ultrasound exam or laparoscopy may be used to diagnose this condition.

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Doctors use ibuprofen to treat bleeding and cramping. Naproxen Sodium, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that works by blocking your body's production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation, is prescribed by some doctors to treat this condition.

Place heating pad or hot water bottle on the lower back or abdomen.

The two to three days leading up to your period is a great time to engage in yoga, which can help relax your body and potentially reduce symptoms of this condition. Yoga asanas like Supta Baddha Konasana help ease menstrual pain.

Ginger eases menstrual cramps by lowering the levels of pain-causing prostaglandins.

"Many adolescents use birth control to manage their menstrual cramps even though they are not sexually active. Hormonal contraceptives include pill, patch, vaginal ring, injection, implant or intrauterine device," said Rachael L. Polis, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist at Crozer-Keystone Health System.

According to a research study in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, sequential medical and surgical management strategies compared to surgery alone are cost-effective for endometriosis-related dysmenorrhea.

A preprogrammed, nomad, easy-to-use, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device was well tolerated and provided rapid and lasting pain decrease in women with primary dysmenorrhea (PD), according to a randomized, double-blind study published in the journal Progrés en Urologie.

"The study’s TENS device is capable of replacing or being combined with analgesics in the management of PD,” said principal investigator Martine Guy, MD, medical director at Urgo Research Innovation and Development in Chenôve, France.

A research study conducted in July 2022 found relugolix combination therapy (relugolix in combination with estradiol and a progestin) to be effective against endometriosis-associated dysmenorrhea.

Low-power visible-light-activated photodynamic therapeutic devices (referred to as PDT devices), which combine low-power visible-light therapy and TCM acupoint stimulation, are a new technology to treat primary dysmenorrhea.

Supta Baddha Konasana Eases Menstrual Pain


Do not use tobacco products. Epidemiological studies indicate that obese or overweight individuals are more at risk for dysmenorrhea; so take appropriate steps to prevent weight gain.

Smoking Worsens Menstrual Pain


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Srikanth R

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