Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea)⠀
Are you missing school, work or any other life event over your period?
- Primary dysmenorrhea – pain that comes from having a menstrual period, or “menstrual cramps.” This often begins with 6–12 months after the initial period and may improve as one gets older. Usually caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins.⠀
- Secondary dysmenorrhea – caused by a disorder in the reproductive system. May begin later in life and tends to get worse over time.⠀
What causes it?⠀
The most common cause of painful periods is endometriosis.⠀
Endometriosis is when tissue that normally lines the uterus, known as endometrium, grows in areas outside the uterus, such as on the ovaries or fallopian tubes.⠀
Causes of secondary dysmenorrhea:⠀
3. myomas⠀(aka fibroids)
4. müllerian anomalies
5. obstructive reproductive tract anomalies
6. ovarian cysts.⠀
- muscle cramps⠀
- poor sleep ⠀
What tests are done to find the cause?⠀
- medical history⠀
- pelvic exam⠀
- sonogram of the pelvis (vaginal probe)⠀
- some cases, laparoscopy (This is a type of surgery that lets your doctor look inside the abdomen at your pelvic region and take biopsies for tissue diagnosis.)⠀
- Primary dysmenorrhea usually responds well to treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or hormonal suppression, or both. If there is no improvement in symptoms with recommended therapy within 3-6 months, further evaluation is necessary.⠀
- Hormonal suppression can be accomplished with combined oral contraception pills, the contraceptive patch or vaginal ring, the single-rod contraceptive progestin implant, intramuscular depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera), and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (IUD).⠀
- Other causes of painful periods may require surgical intervention.
If you are having painful periods and your over the counter medicine isn’t cutting it, see your provider for a full work up.
You don’t have to suffer alone!