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Period pains

We are going to discuss period pain in a simple and easy to understand way. Period pain should always be investigated to exclude diseases like endometriosis. This page should therefor just be used for information and never as a tool to diagnose or to treat period pains.

The scientific name for period pains is dysmenorrhoea. Is is any pain that occurs during menstruation. True period pain is pain that is caused by the changes that occur in the womb during menstruation without any other disease being present. It is however important to exclude other diseases like endometriosis. Traditionally period pains are divide in two major groups namely spasmodic or primary dysmenorrhoea and congestive or secondary dysmenorrhoea.

Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea is characterized by cramps. (pain that comes and goes, like labor pain). These pains are probably due to uterine ( womb contractions). The womb contracts ( it muscles shorten and the pressure inside the womb increases). This is the same mechanism that causes the labor pain. The release of prostaglandins in the uterus is probably responsible for the contractions.

Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea are characterized by a continuous pain and is often accompanied by a feeling that every is going to fall out. It also commonly spreads to the lower back. It is probably due to swelling of womb and support structures. It is also more likely to be associated with other diseases of the female system.

It is quite common to get a mixture of spasmodic and congesting pain.

The classification above just serves as very basic guideline to period pain. Period pain should always be investigated. If it is done , diseases like endometriosis, chronic inflammation of the Fallopian tube and other diseases of the female reproductive organs will be diagnose early with a better change of successful treatment and prevention of complications.

Drugs suppressing the formation of prostaglandins ( most of the anti inflammatory drugs) are usually effective in treating dysmenorrhoea , \They should be used at regular intervals(even if there is no pain) throughout the duration of the menstruation bleeding. Treatment should start early in the cycle , preferably even a few hours before the onset of menstruation. ( this is only possible in people with very regular cycles). Ordinary analgesics ( pain pills) can be added if necessary.

In summary than : If you suffer from period pain and other diseases were excluded, your doctor will prescribe anti inflammatory drugs which will prevent the formation of prostaglandins in the womb. These drugs should be taken regularly, if it states 8 hourly it should be taken every 8 hours, even if there is now pain. There aim is to keep you pain free. They should only be taken as long as the bleeding lasts.

The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman