Painful Periods

Painful Periods

Are You Experiencing Period Pain Every Month?

Women who experience painful cramps and lower abdominal discomfort with their monthly menstrual cycles, known as dysmenorrhea, may warrant further evaluation. These pains may involve bad cramps during your period, or even severe cramping before your period. Although it is normal to experience mild discomfort with your cycle, your symptoms should not prevent you from performing any of your normal daily activities.

What Causes Dysmenorrhea?

While it can be difficult to find the exact cause of painful menstruation, dysmenorrhea can be split into two categories, primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, which each have different possible causes.

Primary Dysmenorrhea

Primary dysmenorrhea is period pain that is not associated with a pelvic or reproductive condition such as endometriosis. It typically affects adolescent women in the first few years after their period begins and is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins. This type of dysmenorrhea is likely to improve as the woman ages.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea

This type of dysmenorrhea is caused by a reproductive system disorder and often becomes worse over time. With secondary dysmenorrhea, several conditions can cause these abnormally painful periods including:

  • Adenomyosis: abnormal tissue growth in the muscle wall of the uterus
  • Endometriosis: tissue from the uterus found in other areas of the pelvic region, such as in the fallopian tubes and ovaries
  • Fibroids: growths found the uterus
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: infection of the reproductive organs often caused by an STD

Risk Factors of Painful Periods

There are several risk factors that can increase a woman’s likelihood of experiencing both primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, including:

  • Adolescence and early menstruation
  • Depression and stress
  • High body mass index and obesity
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Family history of dysmenorrhea

When to See a Doctor About Painful Periods?

If you are experiencing excessive period pain every month and it is interfering with your daily life, you should schedule an appointment to see a gynecologist. Your provider will likely review your medical history and perform a pelvic exam in order to understand the causes of your dysmenorrhea. There are several treatment options available and a doctor will help you find the best treatment according to your individual condition and symptoms. Some of these treatments include:

  • Birth control
  • Pain relievers, such as NSAIDs
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Treatment for the underlying condition, such as removing fibroids or endometriosis surgery

Schedule an Appointment with Consultants in Women’s Healthcare

Our providers share a common goal of delivering personal, individualized care for each patient we see. That’s been our mission ever since we were formed in 1992. We understand that period pain can be a debilitating, uncomfortable condition and we want to help you manage it. If you are experiencing period pain every month, schedule an appointment to see a Consultants in Women’s Healthcare provider today!

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