Dysmenorrhea: How To Gauge Period Pain
posted by OB/GYN | March 15, 2019
There are two types of dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea, the most common type, is pain or cramping that occurs directly as a result of menstruation. Researchers haven’t narrowed down the exact cause of primary dysmenorrhea, but some experts believe the cause to be hormonal in nature, attributing it to a specific type of natural chemical produced by the uterine lining called prostaglandins. Others claim that menstrual cramps result from a temporary lack of oxygen to the uterus caused by muscle contractions that cut off its blood supply. It is entirely possible that both factors have a role to play in the development of dysmenorrhea.
Secondary dysmenorrhea typically causes pain that is more severe and lasts longer than primary dysmenorrhea. This pain may increase over the course of the period and continue even after menstruation is over.
Treatment of dysmenorrhea depends on what is causing it. If your symptoms are relatively mild, you may experiment with different treatment methods to see what works best for you, but you should see your doctor for severe pain. Your doctor will perform a pelvic examination to determine whether your dysmenorrhea is primary or secondary. Home Remedies Symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea can range from mild to severe. If your symptoms are mild, you can usually manage them by applying heat to your abdomen and/or back as needed, as well as taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin (Bayer). Medication If your periods are so painful that they interfere with your normal activities, see your doctor. You may require prescription medication to relieve your symptoms, such as oral contraceptives or pain relievers. Surgery Secondary dysmenorrhea and primary dysmenorrhea that do not respond to other treatments may require surgery to correct. If your doctor recommends surgery, make sure you ask about the effects of the procedure, especially if you plan to have children in the future, as some operations may prevent you from bearing any more children.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.