Dysmenorrhea/Painful Periods

By: Sanchita P. Yadalla, M.D., FACOG

Do you suffer from painful periods? You’re not alone. According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “more than one half of women who menstruate have some pain for 1-2 days each month.”

There are two different types of painful periods, or dysmenorrhea. The first type, Primary Dysmenorrhea, is caused by natural chemicals in the lining of the uterus called prostaglandins. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, prostaglandins increase, thus increasing menstrual pain. During a period, the lining of the uterus is shed. As the lining sheds, the pain decreases. Many times, primary dysmenorrhea occurs in young girls who have just started having menstrual cycles. As these young women grow and mature, their periods become less painful, and sometimes improve after childbirth.

The second type of painful periods, or Secondary Dysmenorrhea, can be caused by issues in the reproductive system, including Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, and uterine fibroids. The pain associated with secondary dysmenorrhea usually gets worse over time, instead of improving. It also usually lasts longer than normal menstrual cramping.

There are multiple treatments that can be used to help with dysmenorrhea. Certain types of pain relievers, like ibuprofen or naproxen, help reduce prostaglandins, thus helping to control pain caused by Primary Dysmenorrhea. Certain hormonal birth control methods can also be used to treat the underlying causes of Secondary Dysmenorrhea, thus reducing pain associated with periods.  Healthy diet, regular exercise, and a daily multivitamin (especially containing Vitamin B and Magnesium) can also help reduce pain associated with periods.

If you are suffering with painful periods, please call ProCare Women’s Clinic
for an appointment at 432-640-2491.

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