Dysmenorrhea is the medical name for menstrual cramps, which is caused by uterine contractions. We have basically two types of menstrual cramps; primary and secondary.


This is the common menstrual cramps which is recurrent and usually not due to any disease. Pain usually begins 1 or 2 days before onset of period, or with menstrual bleeding and it is felt in the lower abdomen, back or thighs. The pains can range from mild to severe and can typically last for 12 to 72 hours. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue and even diarrhea can accompany menstrual cramps. This kind of menstrual cramp usually becomes less painful as a woman ages and may stop entirely if the woman has a baby.


This menstrual pain is due to a disorder in the female reproductive system such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroid or infection. The pain begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than common menstrual cramps. It is not typically accompanied be nausea, vomiting, fatigue or diarrhea. You should see a doctor if your menstrual cramp falls in this category.


The symptoms of dysmenorrhea include;

  • Aching pain in the abdomen
  • Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
  • Pain in the hips, lower back and inner thighs


  • For best relief, take ibruprofen as soon as bleeding or cramping starts. You can also take paracetamol or other pain relievers.
  • Place a heating pad or water bottle on your lower back or abdomen
  • Rest when needed
  • Avoid foods that contain caffeine
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.


Women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual cramp. Include exercise in your routine to help prevent menstrual cramps.


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