Dysmenorrhea, the medical term used to define the occurrence of periods pain and cramps during menstruation. It is a common ailment amongst all girls and women who menstruate. However, always remember that periods are normal but excessive period pain is not normal. The period pain can be described as a dull or throbbing pain that occurs in the lower mid-abdomen, moving towards the lower back and thighs. The pain can be present in any woman irrespective of age. The intensity of the pain, however, differs. For few, it is a slight pain in very mild form but, for many, it is very significant discomfort and pain that stops them from doing their daily activities like going to school, office or even getting out of bed. 

Causes of Dysmenorrhea – 

Dysmenorrhea is basically divided into two categories primary and secondary. It is observed to be due to the following for the reasons as follows:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea when there is no specific abnormality

It occurs due to prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance is released in the uterine tissue that leads to strong muscle contractions during the periods. There is no relation between the level of prostaglandins and the cramps. Irrespective of the level of prostaglandins a woman may face cramps severe or mild. Therefore, it has also been concluded that factors like lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, diet, stress, genetics, and body type also affects the cramps and pain. It is observed that the first two to three years of periods are not painful, it is only after that ovulation begins the blood levels of prostaglandins rise and result in severe contractions.    

  • Secondary when it is a result of any gynecological problem

In this case, consulting a gynecologist is compulsory. It is caused by endometriosis, fibroid tumors or infection of the pelvis. These causes depend on the following factors:

  • Having a very stressful life.
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High intake of caffeine
  • Family history of painful periods
  • Has pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea – 

The basic symptoms of dysmenorrhea are dull, throbbing cramp-like back pain in the lower abdomen. Women may face vomiting tendency, dizziness, diarrhea, irritation, sweating, or mood swings. The cramps last for the first two or three days or periods, but, for some women, the pain actually starts after the third day of the period. In some cases, after the birth of her first child, the pain goes away due to the stretching and opening of the uterus and the involved muscle activity in childbirth.

Diagnosis – 

A doctor needs to conduct a close examination through a pelvic check, after considering the medical history of the patient and the family. Should try to resolve all the underlying causes of the pain.

The myths that have been passed down from ages regarding period pain needs to be broken. Awareness regarding period pain should be spread. Certain lifestyle and dietary changes (including vitamin, calcium and minerals supplements in diet) can be helpful in dealing with dysmenorrhea. Alternative medications and over the counter medicines can also be taken in moderation for easing the pain.