Primary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary dysmenorrhea is menstrual cramps that occur in the absence of a clear physical or pathological cause, and last for several days each month with the start of the menstrual cycle. It affects up to two-thirds of women of reproductive age and is the third most common gynecological complaint among women of reproductive age worldwide.

Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by production of prostaglandins (lipid compounds that act as hormones) at the end of the menstrual cycle. Prostaglandins cause contractions of the uterus, which can lead to the feeling of cramping and pain that women experience with dysmenorrhea.

Common symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea may include:

  • Cramping lower abdominal pain radiating to the thighs and lower back
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating

The intensity of the pain experienced with primary dysmenorrhea varies from woman to woman. For some women, primary dysmenorrhea is so severe that it affects their daily activities. Primary dysmenorrhea may last anywhere from one to three days.

Treatment for primary dysmenorrhea includes medications, physical activity, changes in diet, stress reduction, and various natural remedies. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common medications prescribed to help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with primary dysmenorrhea. Several NSAIDs are available without a prescription, including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). For women whose symptoms do not improve with these over-the-counter medications, prescription medications may be prescribed. Birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone hormones are also commonly prescribed as a treatment for primary dysmenorrhea.

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes and natural remedies can help reduce the pain and discomfort of primary dysmenorrhea. Exercise, relaxation techniques, heat therapy, and dietary changes can all help to reduce the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea.