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What is Dysmenorrhoea?

Dysmenorrhoea is used to describe a painful period cycle. However, primary Dysmenorrhoea referred to period pain from your first period. Similarly, secondary Dysmenorrhoea refers to period pain caused by a reproductive disorder such as adenomyosis, endometriosis, or fibroids. 


Almost every woman suffers from period pain at some point in her life. However, the intensity of the pain differs from one woman to another. At least 1 out of 10 women suffer from excessive period pain, pain that can affect their day-to-day activities. It is so severe that they are unable to sit, stand, or lay down comfortably. Doctors refer to such pain as dysmenorrhoea. 


What is Menstruation?

Menstruation is vaginal bleeding that occurs every month. The period cycle comes with pain that is often referred to as Dysmenorrhoea. Causing throbbing menstrual cramps, cramping pain in the lower abdomen, back pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches are an everyday companion of periods. 


While period pain is not the same as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), that causes symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, and fatigue. These can start a day or two weeks before your period. 


What Causes Painful Periods?


There are two main types of Dysmenorrhoea: 

  • Primary Dysmenorrhoea
  • Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary Dysmenorrhoea 

Typical period pain is not caused by any other condition and is only related to your period cycle. The pain is caused due to an excessive number of prostaglandins, a chemical produced by your uterus. These chemicals make your uterus muscle tight, which causes cramps.


The pain associated with primary dysmenorrhoea can start a day or two days before the period and easily last for a few days; or even after your period cycle is over. 

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

Starts later in life, and is caused by some underlying issue. Most commonly associated with your uterus or other reproductive organs. These include your uterine fibroids and endometriosis. The pain associated with secondary dysmenorrhoea only gets worse with time, as it gives the underlying issue a chance to grow and firm its hold on your body. 


Commonly, second dysmenorrhoea pain starts before your period starts, and can easily last well after your period is over. It's best to get in touch with an ob-gyn and discuss the issues you are facing. Allowing them to run a full checkup can help develop a solution that serves you well in the years to come. 


How Can You Contain Period Pain?

Depending on its cause you can contain period by taking on any one of the following remedies: 


  • Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your lower abdomen
  • Getting active and going out for a quick run, or getting some exercise at home
  • Taking a hot bath can help you relax your body and mind
  • Practising relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can help you ease pain


Additionally, you can take over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, or use a heating patch to help you get through the day. However, if your pain is excessive and does not allow you to take on day-to-day tasks, it's best to get in touch with your doctor and come up with a plan to help ease your pain. 


Furthermore, when suffering from dysmenorrhoea, it's best to avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol. Rest for as long as possible, and let the period pain pass.


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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