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Menstrual Cramps Why Does It Happen

Menstrual Cramps Why Does It Happen

by: Dr. Shilva
Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term for painful cramps that occur immediately before or during menses. Dysmenorrhoea affects as many as 60% of menstruating women. It is a common symptom that majority of the women, especially young girls go through. Painful cramps affect the daily activity of the women.     Usually women opt for over the counter drugs and syrups for the pain, however it is strongly recommended that a specialist analyses your medical history to be sure of any underlying disease causing the same.

Woman Stomach Ache

 Types of of Dysmenorrhoea

There are two types of Dysmenorrhoea.

Primary Dysmenorrhoea:-Primary dysmenorrhoea is defined as the  presence of menstrual cramps in the absence of other diseases .It is the more common type of dysmenorrhea.Pain  appears usually within one to  two years after the onset of menses. Pain usually begins a few hours before or just after the onset of a menstrual period and can continue for one to three days. Pain is colicky in nature in the suprapubic region and back or may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Primary dysmenorrhoea occurs because of increased amount of prostaglandins secreted from endometrial during menses. The increase in prostaglandins leads to increased uterine contractions and decreased uterine blood flow that contributes to pain.

Non steroid anti-inflammatory agents are effective for treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. They work by preventing formation of prostaglandins. These are taken 1-3 days before or if menses are irregular at the onset of menses and continued 6-8 hourly during the periods. Hormonal contraception in the form of oral contraceptive pills ,progesterones,  is indicated in patients who are irresponsible to NSAIDS and who desire contraception also. Non-pharmacologic pain management in particular heat, acupuncture or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may be useful.

It is best to consult a gynaecologist and discuss all your concerns. Such cases are advised not to self medicate.

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea:-Secondary dysmenorrhoea is cyclic menstrual pain that occurs due to underlying pelvic pathology. It typically begins 1-2 weeks before menstrual flow and persists until a few days after the cessation of bleeding.

Underlying causes can include endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic infections, Cu-T in-situ and ovarian cysts. Various investigations such as pelvic USG, Laparoscopy or hysteroscopy may be needed to reach the diagnosis. The management includes treatment of the underlying disorder.

Since this type of menstrual cramps can be because of any underlying disease, it is best to consult a specialist – gynaecologist and opt for a thorough check up. Such patients are again not advised to self medicate.

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