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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dysmenorrhea \Dys*men`or*rhe"a\, n. [Gr. dys- ill, hard + ? month + ? to flow.] (Med.) Difficult and painful menstruation.


n. (context pathology English) Painful menstruation.


n. painful menstruation


Dysmenorrhea, also known as dysmenorrhoea, painful periods, or menstrual cramps, is pain during menstruation. It usually begins around the time that menstruation begins. Symptoms typically last less than three days. The pain is usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen. Other symptoms may include back pain, diarrhea, or nausea.

In young women painful periods often occur without an underlying problem. In older women it is more often due to an underlying issues such as uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, or endometriosis. It is more common among those with heavy periods, irregular periods, whose periods started before twelve years of age, or who have a low body weight. A pelvic exam in those who are sexually active and ultrasound may be useful to help in diagnosis. Conditions that should be ruled out include ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, and chronic pelvic pain.

Dysmenorrhea occurs less often in those who exercise regularly and those who have children early in life. Treatment may include the use of a heating pad. Medications that may help include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, hormonal birth control, and the IUD with progestogen. Taking vitamin B or magnesium may help. Evidence for yoga, acupuncture, and massage is insufficient. Surgery may be useful if certain underlying problems are present.

Dysmenorrhea is estimated to occur in 20% to 90% of women of reproductive age. It is the most common menstrual disorder. Typically it starts within a year of the first menstrual period. When there is no underlying cause often the pain improves with age or following having a child.

Usage examples of "dysmenorrhea".

Recently, in cases of dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea dysmenorrhagia, and like sexual disorders, massage or gentle flagellation of the parts contiguous with the genitalia and pelvic viscera has been recommended.