Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is a common menstrual disorder that affects large numbers of women and can lead to discomfort and pain during the menstrual cycle. Many women experience pain during at least one to two days of menstruation, but usually this pain is mild.

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It becomes an issue of concern when the pain is so severe that it prevents you from going about normal activities during your cycle.

In this blog post, we will examine dysmenorrhea in more detail to better understand the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available from our women’s clinic in Durban.

What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea refers to extremely painful menstrual cramps that occur before or during menstruation.

The primary cause of dysmenorrhea is the release of certain substances called prostaglandins, which increase the contractions of the uterus.

There are two types of dysmenorrhea:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain without any underlying medical conditions.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea occurs due to underlying conditions like endometriosis or fibroids.

Factors such as early age of menstruation, heavy bleeding, and smoking may contribute to the development of dysmenorrhea.

Recognising the Symptoms and Diagnosis

Common symptoms include cramps and pain in the lower abdomen, lower back pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and headaches.

Mild symptoms can be managed with simple self-care techniques, while severe symptoms require medical attention. For persistent or severe symptoms, seeking a professional diagnosis and evaluation is crucial.

By consulting a healthcare professional, you will obtain an accurate diagnosis through a medical history review, a physical examination, and possibly additional tests, ensuring proper management and treatment.

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating dysmenorrhea, your healthcare professional will suggest the best course of action based on your unique situation, which may include some of the following:

  • Non-pharmacological options include lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, following a healthy diet, keeping hydrated, and getting enough sleep.
  • Heat therapy, such as warm compresses or baths, can also provide relief.
  • Stress management techniques like yoga, qigong, meditation, or breathing exercises can help the body relax and reduce symptoms.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or prescribed pain relievers may be recommended.
  • Your gynaecologist may recommend alternative treatment options for specific cases, such as hormonal therapies or minimally invasive procedures.

If you experience persistent or severe dysmenorrhea symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional. Schedule an appointment at our women’s clinic in Durban to obtain further guidance from our qualified gynaecologists.