Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Dysmenorrhea Overview

Another name for Dysmenorrhea is Painful Menstrual Periods.

What are painful menstrual periods?
A woman with painful menstrual periods, or primary dysmenorrhea, has moderate to severe lower abdominal pain that occurs during the menstrual period. The cause for painful menstrual periods is not clear. It may be due to the production of prostaglandin hormones, which cause the uterus to contract. The contractions cause pelvic pain and cramps. Primary dysmenorrhea is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 25.

What are the symptoms of painful menstrual periods?
Symptoms of painful menstrual periods include lower abdominal pain, lower back pain, pelvic pain, diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

How does the doctor treat painful menstrual periods?
Treatment for painful menstrual periods includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, oral contraceptives, and vitamin B supplements.

Continue to Dysmenorrhea Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 20, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dysmenorrhea References
  1. Coco AS. Primary dysmenorrhea. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Aug;60(2):489-96. [10465224]
  2. Davis AR, Westhoff CL. Primary dysmenorrhea in adolescent girls and treatment with oral contraceptives. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2001 Feb;14(1):3-8. [11358700]
  3. Mehlisch DR. Double-blind crossover comparison of ketoprofen, naproxen, and placebo in patients with primary dysmenorrhea. Clin Ther. 1990 Sep-Oct;12(5):398-409. [2268862]
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