Dysmenorrhea means pain in lower abdomen at the time of Menstrual periods. It is if two types-primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea starts in young girls within one or two years of onset of periods. There is no underlying pathology associated. The reason is excessive uterine contractions due to certain chemicals produced by the body during menstruation. Generally girls who get periods before twelve years of age , are thin , get heavy bleeding are prone to this pain. Backaches, headache ,vomiting and diarrhoea might also be associated.
The easiest and safest treatment for this period pain is using a heating pad or a hot water bottle. If required then mild and safe pain killers can be given after consulting the doctor.
Generally this period pain resolves in later part of life or after childbirth.
Increasing physical activity and taking supplements if there is iron or vitamin deficiency also play a role in reducing period pain by making the body less sensitive to pain.
Secondary dysmenorrhea starts when there is some disease with the reproductive organs, eg, fibroids, adenomyosis,
Endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. The diagnosis is made by the doctor by history , examination , ultrasonography or laparoscopy . The treatment depends on the cause and it includes pain killers, hormones , surgery , laparoscopy, Mirena insertion.
Dysmenorrhea or painful periods is the most common menstrual disorder with which a female comes to the gynae OPD ( it affects 20%-90% of females ).
Along with the common cause I mentioned above , certain rare causes of painful periods includes congenital malformations, intrauterine devices , pelvic infections and certain cancers.
So whenever you experience pain during periods, please consult your gynaecologist so that timely diagnosis and treatment can be given .