Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, are sharp or stabbing pains in the lower abdomen. Before and during their periods, many women experience dysmenorrhea. Recurrent pain is referred to as primary dysmenorrhea, whereas reproductive system issues are the cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.

Some women may only find the discomfort irritating. Others may experience menstrual cramps that are so bad that they prevent them from going about their normal lives for a few days each month.

Dysmenorrhea can be brought on by conditions like uterine fibroids or endometriosis. The key to minimizing pain is to treat the underlying cause. When they are not brought on by another illness, menstrual cramps often become better with age and often stop altogether after delivering birth.


Symptoms of menstrual cramps include:

  • Pain that begins one to three days before to your menstruation, peaks 24 hours after it begins, and goes away in two to three days
  • A severe, throbbing, or cramping ache in your lower abdomen
  • Feeling of having abdominal pressure
  • Your thighs and lower back are both in pain.
  • Continuously dull pain

These symptoms may show experience in some women:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

If dysmenorrhea is already affecting your life each month, the symptoms have worsen or it just started after 25 years of age; consult your doctor.


Your uterus contracts during your menstrual cycle to aid in the expulsion of its lining. The uterine muscles contract as a result of hormone-like molecules (prostaglandins) involved in pain and inflammation. More severe menstrual cramps are linked to higher prostaglandin levels.

Menstrual cramps may result from:

  • Endometriosis. Outside of the uterus, a tissue that functions somewhat like the lining of the uterus grows most frequently on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the tissue lining your pelvis.
  • Uterine fibroids. These are benign tumors that form on the uterine wall and might hurt.
  • Adenomyosis. The lining of your uterus starts to integrate with the uterine muscles.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease. The infection that cause this illness of the female reproductive system are typically transferred sexually.
  • Cervical stenosis. In some women, the cervix’s opening is so narrow that it prevents menstruation from flowing, painfully raising the pressure inside the uterus.

Risk factors

These are the risk factors which lead to dysmenorrhea:

  • Age younger than 30 years old
  • Early puberty (11 years or younger)
  • Heavy menstrual period (menorrhagia)
  • Irregular menstruation (metrorrhagia)
  • Family history of dysmenorrhea
  • Smoking