Dysmenorrhea, also known as dysmenorrhoea, painful periods, or menstrual cramps, is pain during menstruation. It usually begins around the time that menstruation begins. Symptoms typically last less than three days. The pain is usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen. Other symptoms may include back pain, diarrhea, or nausea.
In young women painful periods often occur without an underlying problem. In older women it is more often due to an underlying issues such as uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, or endometriosis. It is more common among those with heavy periods, irregular periods, whose periods started before twelve years of age, or who have a low body weight. A pelvic exam in those who are sexually active and ultrasound may be useful to help in diagnosis. Conditions that should be ruled out include ectopic pregnancy,pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, and chronic pelvic pain.
Dysmenorrhea occurs less often in those who exercise regularly and those who have children early in life. Treatment may include the use of a heating pad. Medications that may help include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, hormonal birth control, and the IUD with progestogen. Taking vitamin B or magnesium may help. Evidence for yoga, acupuncture, and massage is insufficient. Surgery may be useful if certain underlying problems are present.
Dysmenorrhea is estimated to occur in 20% to 90% of women of reproductive age. It is the most common menstrual disorder. Typically it starts within a year of the first menstrual period. When there is no underlying cause often the pain improves with age or following having a child.
We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/6295737/ chen x. Chen, bruce barrett, and kristine l. Kwekkeboom, “efficacy of oral ginger (zingiber officinale) for dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, vol. 2016, article id 6295737, 10 pages, 2016. Doi:10.1155/2016/6295737
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/169692/ hui-ru jiang, shuang ni, jin-long li, et al., “systematic review of randomized clinical trials of acupressure therapy for primary dysmenorrhea,” evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, vol. 2013, article id 169692, 9 pages, 2013. Doi:10.1155/2013/169692
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/296860/ kyoung-sun park, kang-in park, deok-sang hwang, jin-moo lee, jun-bock jang, and chang-hoon lee, “a review of in vitro and in vivo studies on the efficacy of herbal medicines for primary dysmenorrhea,”evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, vol. 2014, article id 296860, 11 pages, 2014. Doi:10.1155/2014/296860
http://njcmindia.org/uploads/2-2_265-268.pdf prevalence of dysmenorrhea among adolescent girls (14-19 yrs) of kadapa district and its impact on quality of life: a cross sectional study by suresh k. Kumbhar et al., national journal of community medicine vol 2 issue 2 july-sept 2011