Dysmenorrhea: Definition, Symptoms, Treatment

Dysmenorrhea Definition, Symptoms, Treatment

Last updated on July 28th, 2018 at 05:23 am

The definition of primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhea is simply painful menstruation in women of child bearing age. More than 50 percent of women in their reproductive years experience severe pain during menstruation.

Painful menstruation seems to decrease with increasing age of the woman. It is severe from menache but intensity if pain is reduced as patients get to 30 years. Presence of pain in women after 30 years will require investigation. In addition, painful menstruation decreases with after childbirth.

What is definition of dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is defined as onset of very painful period in woman that is enough to affect daily activities. Some women with severe menstrual cramps will require hospital admission. It is estimated that 10 percent of post pubertal female are incapacitated for about 1 to 3 days due to painful menses.


What is the cause of dysmenorrhea?

The cause of dysmenorrhea is still widely unknown, though some of these factors have been attributed to the disease.

High prostaglandins level. Research has shown that women with painful menstruation has high level of prostaglandins. This will cause hyper stimulation of the uterus resulting in excessive uterine contraction. This contraction with result to pain.

other factors that seem to play a role are emotion anxiety and stress.


What are the types of dysmenorrhea?

There are 2 types of dysmenorrhea. The primary and secondary. Clinical symptoms and age of the woman are helpful in diagnosis.

What is primary dysmenorrhea?

This is the commonest type of painful menstruation experienced by young women. This type of dysmenorrhea is also common in women who starts seeing their period for the first time and the pain is maximal at 15 to 25 years. This type of pain is less common in women who have delivered before.

Period pain is intense, starts and stops abruptly. The pain is intermittent and starts few hours before menstruation and lasts about 48 hours after onset of your period.

What is secondary dysmenorrhea?

This type is common in women above 30 years of age with previously normal cycles. The pain starts 4 days before onset of menstruation resolves 5 days of bleeding.

Causes of secondary dysmenorrhea are

  • Adenomyosis. This is the presence of endometrial tissue in the uterine muscle. It is due to previous cesarean section or suction evacuation of pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis. This is presence of endometrial tissues of the uterus outside the uterus. It is a common cause of pain in women above 30 years.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Use of contraceptive devices
  • Fibroids

What are symptoms of dysmenorrhea?

The symptoms experienced by women include

  • Low abdomen pain
  • Low back pain
  • vomiting
  • Passage of loose stool
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or body weakness


How is dysmenorrhea diagnosed in women?

It is normal for women to experience some discomfort during menstruation. However, severe abdominal pain is abnormal. Some of the common test done by your doctor includes

  • High vaginal and endo cervical swabs. This will detect organism that cause infection. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common infection in women.
  • Abdomen and pelvic ultrasound. This is important to diagnose endometriosis, adenomyosis and fibriods.
  • Laparoscopy
  • Hysteroscopy


What is the treatment of dysmenorrhea?

The treatment of dysmenorrhea involves use of prostaglandins antagonist or drugs that suppress the ovaries. Drugs used include

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Oral contraceptives

However, some women may still require surgical treatment if medical option fails. Cervical dilatation and Uterosacral ligament divisions has shown some help in women. In extreme cases, a hysterectomy can be performed which is the removal of the uterus.

How is dysmenorrhea prevented?

  • Exercise has shown to help women with very painful periods.
  • Low fat and vegetable diet
  • Stop smoking

Have Dysmenorrhea? Share your experience with us.

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