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Painful Periods – Everything You Need to Know about Dysmenorrhea


(Sketch by Roshni Tharian, Illustrator at oowomaniya.)

1) First day of the periods is a nightmare. Extremely painful. I have been also admitted 5 times due to low blood pressure and acidity vomiting during those critical 4-5 hours . I am perfectly fine after 4-5 painful hours. But the pain during that phase is unbearable. The pain is at its peak when the periods are beginning on the first day.Weakness continues for 3 days. Suggest me some remedy to cure my extreme pain.

2) Which medicine should be taken while having painful periods?

3) Is it safe to have pain killer pills to control menstrual Cramps?

These are some of the queries that we now and then encounter regarding painful periods, which in medical terms is known as Dysmenorrhea.

Dhruti Pandya explains all about it, and also mentions the ways to deal with it. Read on to find out.

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An 18 year old girl complained of pain during menstruation and this pain was severe enough to hamper her of doing her daily work. She consulted a Gynecologist who prescribed an analgesic and advised her to use the medicine whenever she experienced similar pain.This is something ALL of us would have faced ONCE or more….. And at that point we feel as if ‘Why only do we have to face this situation?’ ‘It seems like menstruation is a painful curse. ’

On this note, let us get some idea about this “tragic event” which is seemingly unwelcome and unpleasant.

The medical terminology for pain during menstruation is ‘Dysmenorrhea’. It is felt immediately before or


during the menstrual period. The pain is observed in the initial years of menstrual life starting from the menarche. It usually becomes less painful as the woman ages and may stop entirely after she gets her first baby, but there is no surety for it.

The pain is felt in the lower abdomen and may also be felt in the hips, lower back or thighs. It may cause associated nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness or general achiness. It may coexist with excessively heavy blood loss too.

This pain can be described as to be ‘spasmodic’ wherein one experiences sharp pelvic cramps or it may be ‘congestive’ wherein one experiences a deep and dull ache.

The text described above is what all of us might have felt,but what we are not aware of is the CAUSALITY of such severe pain. So here is its medical explanation.

As it is known to all, during the one month cycle, our uterus prepares itself for conception and makes itself provided of with enough of extra blood supply. Now when conception does not occur, there is release of certain hormones which cause the uterus to contract and reduce this extra blood supply. As a consequence of this, the new linings developed in the uterus deteriorate and need to be shed off. The uterus again undergoes contractions for the expulsion of this matter and as a result of these, the pain is felt. This is the basic causality of ‘Primary Dysmenorrhea’.

There is also a condition called ‘Secondary Dysmenorrhea’ which is associated with diseases of the female reproductive system like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, adenomyosis, sexually transmitted infections or use of intra uterine devices for birth control.

How to manage an episode of dysmenorrhea – painful periods?

Doctors advise the use of analgesics like Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for symptomatic pain relief. We can also opt for Acupuncture, behavioral interventions, vitamin supplements etc. A surgical intervention in the form of ‘Pre Sacral Neurectomy’ is also under research for the treatment of Dysmenorrhea.

So, since the prevalence of Dysmenorrhea among menstruating women is very high, it is must for us to have primary knowledge for the same. This is important even for realizing the fact that this problem is a normal physiological manifestation and we should not be scared of it unless it bears some pathological linkage.


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