Painful Menses: Dysmenorrhea

It is common for many women to experience some pain, cramping, and discomfort during their monthly period cycle. Every menstruation cycle results in the shedding of the uterine lining that passes through the cervix and the vaginal canal. While some amount of pain and cramping is normal during this process, if the pain is unbearable and interferes with your day-to-day life, it may be a cause for concern.

What is dysmenorrhea???

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term used to depict painful or troublesome periods. Dysmenorrhea is classified into: primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common type. The condition causes cramping pain in the lower abdomen. The pain can start 1-2 days before the period begins and can last 2-4 days.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is the type when the cramps are caused due to an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and cervical stenosis. Pain associated with a health condition usually arises before and/or during the menstrual period.

What Causes Dysmenorrhea?

Due to the uterine contractions, the muscles of uterus tighten and relaxes which allow the blood to leave the uterus which is associated with cramps.  The level of chemical prostaglandin remains high before the menstruation begins which acts as a trigger for the muscle contractions in the uterus. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against surrounding blood vessels, cutting off the oxygen supply to the muscle tissues of the uterus. The high levels of prostaglandins, the increased strength in contractions, and the brief loss of oxygen supply to the muscles result in pain, nausea, diarrhoea, and dizziness in many women.

Common symptoms a women experience is,

  • Lower back pain 
  • Cramps in the lower area of the abdomen. This pain can range from dull, mild aches to throbbing, unbearable pain. 

Few associated symptoms include,

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loose bowel movement
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Light-headedness or Headache

When to seek medical advice???

If the pain associated with the period is disturbing to perform daily activities, it would be a good idea to talk to consult a gynaecologist. If your symptoms worsen from nausea and dizziness to passing blood clots, severe pelvic pain when not menstruating, fever, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge, it could be a sign of infection or another condition pertaining to

your reproductive organs. Any condition if left untreated can cause scar tissue that damages the pelvic organs and may lead to infertility.

Diagnosis is arrived through checking the medical history to check for any underlying issues that are causing your painful periods. Physical examination will include a pelvic examination to check for any abnormalities or signs of infection in your reproductive system. Advanced imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI to give a more precise diagnosis.

5 Home Remedies for Dysmenorrhea


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Fennel seeds is a good option to reduce periods due to severe menstrual cramps. It should be taken 4times a day for 3 days prior to the start of their menstrual cycle.  Researches revealed that fennel inhibits uterine contractions that are stimulated by prostaglandins.

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Roast the cumin seeds until it turns a black colour. Boiling the water and add the roasted the cumin seeds to the water and take during the time of menstrual cycle. This will help to reduce the severe cramps since cumin has a relaxing effect, and its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties are useful for getting rid of the pain. 

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Chew the freshly cleaned ginger 2-3times during menstrual cramps. It is believed that the anti-inflammatory property of ginger helps to soothe the uterine muscles. It also inhibits prostaglandin secretion which leads to reduced pain during the menstrual cramps.
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Gentle massage to the umbilicus with castor oil considerably helps in reducing the cramps. It can also be used in the form of a cloth pack. A cloth dipped in castor oil, make a pack and leave this pack on the abdomen for 30 mins. This castor oil pack helps to ease pain and Inflammation