What is dysmenorrhea?

Menstruation is the normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of the menstrual cycle, although when this period becomes painful it is known as dysmenorrhea, which is the medical term for the menstrual cramps or pain that many women experience before their period. It is usually not a serious pain, although it can become so, so it is important to see a specialist to rule out possible pathologies such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis.

There are two types of dysmenorrhea; primary dysmenorrhea, which is caused by normal menstrual cramps, and secondary dysmenorrhea, which may be caused by one of the pathologies described above.

Prognosis of the disease

Dysmenorrhea is not a serious pathology, although if the pains prevent the normal performance of daily activities, it will be necessary to see a specialist to make a proper diagnosis and rule out other diseases.

Symptoms of dysmenorrhea

Menstrual cramps cause severe pain in the abdomen, lower back, hips or inner thighs. This pain may be experienced just before the period and can last from one to three days. Some women even experience pain so severe that it can prevent them from going about their daily activities.

Medical tests for dysmenorrhea

To rule out possible pathologies such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis, the specialist may consider it appropriate to perform an ultrasound or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to observe the inside of the uterus.

Dysmenorrhea causes severe menstrual cramps

What are the causes of dysmenorrhea?

There are two types of dysmenorrhea; primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. In the first case, the pain is caused by common menstrual cramps sometimes caused by an excess of prostaglandins, chemicals in the uterus. These chemicals allow contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the uterus, which causes cramps.

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In the latter, the pain may be caused by a pathology or condition such as infection, ovarian cysts or endometriosis. This pain may worsen over time and may start before the period and continue after.

Can it be prevented?

Dysmenorrhea is a pathology that cannot be prevented, since it is part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is possible to alleviate its symptoms through some relaxation techniques and other methods that can be carried out at home, although there is no specific prevention process.

Treatments for dysmenorrhea

Some of the techniques to reduce menstrual pain that can be done at home are the use of heating pads and warm baths. On the other hand, there are some drugs that can also help relieve pain, although their supply will always be under medical prescription. In addition, some over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be taken.

If these treatments do not work, the specialist may consider performing some kind of tests to rule out pathologies such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis. One of these tests could be a laparoscopic surgery to look inside the uterus.

Medications for dysmenorrhea

Patients who suffer from severe menstrual pain may resort to over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. On the other hand, under medical prescription, other medications combining aspirin or acetaminophen with caffeine, antihistamines or diuretics can be administered.

Which specialist treats it?

Gynecological specialists are in charge of diagnosing and treating dysmenorrhea. Severe menstrual pain can prevent the performance of daily activities, so it is important to see a specialist to rule out other possible pathologies.