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Gynecology Services


Irregular Periods

Two Types of Painful Periods

Painful menustration affects many women and although some pain during menustration is normal, excessive pain is not. For a small number, the discomfort makes it difficult to perform normal household, job, or school-related activites for a few days during each menstrual. Among women in their teens and 20s, painful periods are the leading cause of lost time from school and work. During a painful menstrual period a woman may expereince cramping lower abdominal pain, a sharp pain that comes and goes, an aching pain, or possibly back pain.

The medical term for excessively painful periods is dysmenorrhea, of which there are two types: primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea refers to pain that occurs in otherwise healthy young women at the onset of their menstrual periods. Generally, this type of pain is not related to any specific problems with the uterus or other pelvic organs, but may simply be a result of increased activity of the hormone prostaglandin, which is produced in the uterus.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is a menstrual pain that develops later, after periods have been more normal, and is often related to problems in the uterus or other pelvic organs. These problems can include endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, an intrauterine device (IUD made of copper), sexually transmitted disease, and stress and anxiety.

If you are expereinceing menstrual pain that impacts yoru ability to participate in your daily activities, schedule an appointment with your AOA physician and get yoruself back in action.