Dysmenorrhea
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Dysmenorrhea

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dysmenorrhea, also known as menstrual cramps or period pain, refers to the abdominal pain experienced by women during menstruation. This pain may be accompanied by lower back pain, headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, and other symptoms, and its severity and duration vary from person to person. Dysmenorrhea is a prevalent symptom that affects the quality of life of many menstruating women.

Category

Dysmenorrhea can be divided into two types: Primary Dysmenorrhea and Secondary Dysmenorrhea.

  • Primary Dysmenorrhea:
    Primary dysmenorrhea refers to menstrual pain that occurs without noticeable pathological changes in the reproductive organs. It typically occurs before or during the onset of menstruation and may last several days.
    The pain is usually cramp-like and is caused by contractions of the uterine muscles. It may accompany other symptoms such as headaches, diarrhoea, nausea, or fatigue.
    Primary dysmenorrhea is common in adolescent females and may improve with age or after childbirth.
     
  • Secondary Dysmenorrhea:
    Secondary dysmenorrhea refers to menstrual pain caused by some pathological condition of the reproductive system, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or uterine polyps.
    This type of pain may occur at other stages of the menstrual cycle, and the nature and duration of the pain may differ from primary dysmenorrhea.
    Secondary dysmenorrhea may worsen over time, and the treatment of menstrual pain requires addressing its underlying cause.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area may radiate to the lower back or thighs.
  • The pain may be crampy, dull, or sharp.
  • Nausea, headaches, diarrhoea, fatigue, or mood changes may accompany it.
  • Symptoms typically occur before or during the onset of menstruation and may last several days.

Some women may experience the following symptoms during menstrual cramps:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrheal

Treatments

  1. Painkillers: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can reduce pain.
  2. Oral Contraceptives: Oral contraceptives can help regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the growth of the endometrium, and thus alleviate dysmenorrhea.
  3. Hormone Therapy: Hormones released by an intrauterine device (IUD) can also be used to treat dysmenorrhea.
  4. Specific Treatments for Secondary Dysmenorrhea: Targeting the root cause, which may include surgical treatment or other specialized treatments.

Methods of Relief

  • Hot Compress: A heating pad or warm pack on the lower abdomen or lower back can help alleviate pain.
  • Hydration: While drinking plenty of water may not directly reduce menstrual cramps, it can help alleviate bloating symptoms during menstruation.
  • Moderate Exercise: Gentle activities like walking or yoga can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Maintain Good Sleep and Dietary habits: Sufficient rest and a balanced diet can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Avoid Excessive Intake of Caffeine and Alcohol: Both alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects and can lead to dehydration.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, or warm bath techniques can help reduce stress and pain.

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