Painful menstrual periods

Menstruation - painful; Dysmenorrhea; Periods - painful; Cramps - menstrual; Menstrual cramps

Painful menstrual periods are periods in which a woman has crampy lower abdominal pain, which can be sharp or aching and come and go. Back pain may also be present.

Some pain during your period is normal, but a large amount of pain is not. The medical term for painful menstrual periods is dysmenorrhea.

Female reproductive anatomy

External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries and cervix.

Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)

Primary dysmenorrhea is a normal cramping of the lower abdomen caused by hormone-induced uterine contractions before the period. Secondary dysmenorrhea may be caused by abnormal conditions such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Unless one of these potentially serious conditions is present, the treatment for painful periods is pain relief. If a hormone imbalance is detected, birth control pills may restore the proper hormone levels.

Relieving PMS

The cause of premenstrual syndrome is not known but severe symptoms have been shown to be responsive to lifestyle changes. Getting exercise several times a week, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol are some of the changes most often recommended.

Uterus

The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth.

Considerations

Causes

Home Care

When to Contact a Medical Professional

What to Expect at Your Office Visit