The medical word for painful menstrual periods induced by uterine contractions is dysmenorrhea. Recurrent pain is referred to as primary dysmenorrhea, while reproductive system abnormalities cause secondary dysmenorrhea. Both are treatable.
What are the consequences of dysmenorrhea?
Normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle is known as menstruation. Dysmenorrhea, or painful periods, affects many women. Menstrual cramps can be caused by conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. The key to minimizing pain is to address the underlying cause. Menstrual cramps that aren’t caused by something else tend to get better with age and often disappear after delivering birth.
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What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of menstrual cramps include:
- Intense throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen
- Pain starts 1 to 3 days before your period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of your period and subsides in 2 to 3 days
- Dull, continuous ache
- Radiating pain in your lower back and thighs
Some women may also have:
- Loose stools
Menstrual cramps are a possibility if:
- You’re under 30 years old.
- You began puberty when you were 11 or younger.
- During periods, you bleed heavily (menorrhagia)
- Your menstrual cycle is erratic (metrorrhagia)
- You have a history of menstruation cramps in your family (dysmenorrhea)
- You’re a smoker.