Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for painful menstrual periods which are caused by uterine contractions. Primary dysmenorrhea refers to recurrent pain, while
secondary dysmenorrhea results from reproductive system disorders. Both can be treated.
- Crampingin the lower abdomen.
- Painin the lower abdomen.
- Low back pain.
- Painradiating down the legs.
Menstrual cramps happen when a chemical called prostaglandin makes the uterus contract (tighten up). The uterus, the muscular organ where a baby grows, contracts throughout your menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the uterus contracts more strongly. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to muscle tissue. You feel pain when part of the muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
No tests are specific to the diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhea. Studies that may be indicated to elucidate the cause of secondary dysmenorrhea include laboratory tests, abdominal or transvaginal ultrasonography, hysterosalpingography, hysteroscopy, or laparoscopy.
- Pain-relievingmedication, such as paracetamol.
- Medicationthat inhibits prostaglandins, such as ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medication.
- Regular exercise and attention to overall physical fitness.
- Applying heat, such as a hot water-bottle, to the abdomen.