Sign and Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea

Sign and Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea:

Dysmenorrhoea – Dys means uneasy or painful + Menorrhoea menstrual cycle; so a condition where a fellow is having uneasiness or pain during menstrual bleeding is termed as Dysmenorrhoea. It is more a symptom than a disease in itself. It affects more than half of women.

There are two types of Dysmenorrhoea - Primary and secondary. For Primary dysmenorrhoea there is no specific cause. It is most common in the first few years after periods start. Primary dysmenorrhoea affects up to nine out of 10 women. For most women, the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhoea get better as they get older or after they have children.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea is pain caused by a specific condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids. It usually affects women between the ages of 30 and 45.

Causes of Dysmenorrhoea:

Primary dysmenorrhoea isn't caused by one specific condition. The uterus is normal. The main cause is thought to be an increase in the amount of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are chemicals which are responsible for the contraction of uterine muscles. In women with period pain there seems to be a build-up of too much prostaglandins, or the uterus may be extra sensitive to the prostaglandins. This may cause the uterus to contract too hard, which reduces the blood supply to the uterus. This can lead to pain.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea can be caused by a number of different conditions which include:

  • Endometriosis (where cells which are lining the interior of uterus grow on organs outside the uterus and undergo through the same monthly changes)
  • Fibroids or endometrial polyps (non-cancerous growths of uterus)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection of female reproductive organs)
  • Adenomyosis (thickening of the walls of uterus)

There are more chances for the painful periods if the periods started at a young age or if you smoke.

Symptoms of Dysmenorrhoea:

Primary Dysmenorrhoea: The specific symptom of painful periods is cramps or pain in pelvis. These can happen either before or during the first few days of periods. Pain might be in back or thighs. It

  • May spread to lower back, or to the top of legs.
  • Usually starts along with the bleeding or up to one day before that.
  • Usually lasts 12-24 hours, but can last 2-3 days.
  • Can vary with each period. Some periods might be worse than others.
  • Becomes less severe with age or after having a baby.

Other symptoms of Dysmenorrhoea include:

  • Tiredness
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Backache
  • Headache or migraine
  • Bloating
  • Mood changes

Other less common signs are faintness, breast tenderness and feeling emotional or tearful.

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea: The main symptom is crampy lower abdominal pain during periods. With secondary dysmenorrhoea, periods tend to become more painful after several years of 'normal' periods.

Signs of Secondary Dysmenorrhoea include:

  • Change in usual pattern of pain. E.g. periods become more painful than they used to be, or the pain lasts longer than it used to.
  • The pain might start several days before the period begins, and last throughout the period.
  • Irregular periods
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Pains between periods
  • Heavier bleeding than previous periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

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