August 8, 2011

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Dysmenorrhea

Posted in Category : Women's Health

There are many women especially in the early ages of puberty who will question what is the meaning of dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is the medical term that is used to describe menstrual cramps. Almost all women have experienced menstrual cramps at some time or the other. In some women the cramps could be more severe as compared to the others. There are two different types of dysmenorrhea that you can suffer from: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.

Primary dysmenorrhea will usually affect you around a year or two after you start menstruating. This pain can range from mild to severe and it is usually felt in the lower abdominal area. As you grow older, primary dysmenorrhea becomes less painful. It will probably stop completely once you have a baby.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is a bit more serious, as it occurs because of a disorder affecting your reproductive organs. In this case the pain is likely to begin much before your period is about to start. The pain also lasts for a longer duration than normal menstrual cramps.


There are several different factors that can lead to dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea causes are completely different from the causes of secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs because of:

  • Excess weight
  • Unhealthy practices like smoking or consuming excess alcohol
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Being under a lot of stress

Some of the common causes of secondary dysmenorrhea include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromas
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

The causes of dysmenorrheal are many and it is important to identify the cause of dysmenorrhea, so as to alleviate the condition to a great extent by addressing these factors. At times, changes in lifestyle can help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps and pain. However, in order to treat secondary dysmenorrhea, you will need to get the underlying cause treated first.


Dysmenorrhea is characterized by intense pain in the lower abdominal and pubic area. At times, the acute and intermittent pain radiates towards the lower back and the legs. Primary dysmenorrhea pain usually begins a short while your period starts and lasts till the first day of your period. Apart from pain, some of the other symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Cramps in the abdomen

Secondary dysmenorrhea pain lasts for a longer period of time. It usually begins around 4 to 5 days before you get your menstrual flow and lasts for 2 to 3 days after the cycle ends. Irregularity in periods is also one of the symptoms of secondary dysmenorrhea.


There are several different medicines that your doctor may recommend for the treatment for dysmenorrhea. This includes over the counter drugs like acetaminophen or NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen. However, most women prefer using home remedies for dysmenorrhea, as they are quite effective and do not lead to severe side effects if used correctly. Given below are some of the most widely recommended home remedies for dysmenorrhea:

  • Following a regular exercise routine throughout the month, to release endorphins or the natural painkillers in the body
  • Placing a hot water bottle on the abdomen, in order to reduce the severity of the cramps. Alternately, you could also use a hot towel, in case you do not have a hot water bottle at hand.
  • Drinking a lot of water to reduce the risks of dehydration. Hot liquids are also great for alleviating menstrual cramps
  • Practicing certain yoga techniques to relieve the cramps and reduce stress

The treatment for dysmenorrhea also includes many common herbs and spices. Given below are some of the most effective natural cures for dysmenorrhea:

  • Cinnamon
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Witch hazel
  • Wild thyme
  • Penny royal
  • Yarrow
  • Angelica
  • Black cohosh
  • Black haw
  • Catnip tea

Some of these herbs can be consumed in the form of food, but many of them need to be used only externally. It is very important to use the herb correctly, or the side effects could be severe. Therefore, before you try the natural treatment for dysmenorrhea, do check with your health care provider and get an approval.