Dysmenorrhea refers to pain sensation in pelvis and lower abdomen before or during menstruation.
The pain might be more severe with heavy period. Some women may even experience nausea, vomiting, headache or diarrhea.
There are generally two types of dysmenorrhea, namely primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.
Primary dysmenorrhea could be due to
mechanism of physiological cycle. Meanwhile, it might also be caused by
secretion of prostaglandins that cause contraction of uterus. As cycle
comes to the end, the pain will gradually disappear. Under most
circumstances, the pain could be relieved by taking painkillers.
Secondary dysmenorrhea could be caused
by pathological factors related to uterus, ovaries, and pelvic cavity,
including adenomyosis, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, pelvic
inflammation and pelvic adhesions etc.
To find out the cause of dysmenorrhea, gynaecologists will perform assessment by collecting information such as menstrual status (cycle length, menstrual volume, etc.), pain level, associated symptoms, past medical and family history etc. Further tests may include:
- Pelvic ultrasound (transabdominal/transvaginal)
Once the cause of pain is identified, problem of dysmenorrhea could be treated accordingly.