Patient's Complete Guide to Dysmenorrhea

Overview of Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea (ماہواری کا دَرد کے ساتھ آنا) is a medical term used for painful periods. The pain mostly is felt in the lower body, back, and abdomen. Dysmenorrhea usually occurs a few days before menstruation starts and can also be experienced on the initial days of menstruation.

Signs and Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea

Some of the common symptoms of dysmenorrhea are given below:

  • Pain in Lower Back
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Severe Leg Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea

Types of Dysmenorrhea

There are usually two types of dysmenorrhea observed: Primary and Secondary.

Primary Dysmenorrhea

It occurs as soon as a woman starts menstruating and can go on for life. Primary dysmenorrhea causes mild to severe uterine contractions that can be frequent and extremely painful.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea

This type occurs when there is a problem observed in the reproductive system of the body. The pain felt can go on for a longer period of time which is way more than normal menstrual pain felt. There are certain conditions that can cause secondary dysmenorrhea, these include,

Fibroids

These are growths that can be formed inside or outside the uterus.

Endometriosis

A condition in which the tissue lining of the uterus is present outside of the uterus. The tissue pieces bleed out during periods causing scarring and swelling.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is a condition in which the size of the uterus increases, due to the lining of the uterus growing into the muscles of the uterus.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is a bacterial infection that occurs in the uterus and spreads to the other reproductive organs. This can cause pain during periods and while having intercourse.

Causes of Dysmenorrhea

The causes of dysmenorrhea that are of major concern are given below:

  • Chemical Imbalance in the body
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Miscarriages
  • Polyps in Pelvic Cavity
  • Abnormal Pregnancies
  • Abnormal size of the cervix
  • Infections

Risk Factors of Dysmenorrhea

Although dysmenorrhea can occur to anyone, the women who are at a greater risk of developing this condition include,

  • Women who get their periods earlier than usual
  • Women who have never been pregnant
  • Overweight women
  • Women who drink and use addictive substances

Other risk factors include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Family history of Dysmenorrhea
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Prolonged duration of menstruation cycle

Dysmenorrhea Complications

Certain conditions that are associated with dysmenorrhea can cause serious complications like,

  • Endometriosis can result in fertility issues
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can cause scarring in the fallopian tubes and increase the risk of the egg forming outside of the uterus

Prevention

Certain measures and changes in lifestyle can avoid the occurrence of dysmenorrhea in women. These can be,

  • Lessen the use of tobacco
  • Avoid drinking
  • Avoid the use of caffeinated drinks
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Balanced Diet

Diagnosis

To get you diagnosed with dysmenorrhea, the healthcare provider takes the family history first. A pelvic and physical exam is conducted along with other tests including,

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This test is used by healthcare providers to get detailed images of the inner organs of the body.

Ultrasound

High-frequency sound waves are used to take images of the inner body to find out the main cause of dysmenorrhea.

Hysteroscopy

This is an examination of the pathway to the cervix and the inner side of the uterus. A hysteroscope is inserted in the uterus to diagnose dysmenorrhea.

Laparoscopy

 

A thin tube with a light and thin tube is inserted in the abdomen. This can detect the presence of any tumor in the uterus or the pelvic region.

Treatment of Dysmenorrhea | When to Consult a Doctor

The treatment of dysmenorrhea  can be determined by your healthcare provider based on,

  • Your condition
  • Cause of the condition
  • Scope of the condition
  • Medical History
  • Age
  • Your preference
  • Overall health

There is no permanent treatment available for dysmenorrhea however to manage the symptoms certain treatments are available. These include,

  • Ovulation Inhibitors i.e, oral contraceptives
  • Progesterone (hormone treatment)
  • Prostaglandin Inhibitors such as anti-inflammatory medication
  • Supplements
  • Changes in diet (decrease in sugar content and increase in protein intake)
  • Destruction of the uterine wall (Endometrial Ablation)
  • Removal of the uterus (Hysterectomy)

Alternative Therapies for Dysmenorrhea Treatment

There are some natural ways to deal with dysmenorrhea and these can be used by women who prefer to treat their issue naturally. Some of the alternative methods and ways used include,

  • Massage
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure

Healthcare Providers

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