Dysmenorrhoea: What is it and Who Suffers from it?

Dysmenorrhoea and its Types

Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term for painful menstrual cramps. These cramps occur before or during the menstrual period. There are two major types of dysmenorrhoea; primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to common menstrual cramps which occur during the period or a couple of days prior to the menstrual cycle. These cramps are usually felt in the lower abdomen, back or thighs. Ranging from mild to severe, the pain can last from 12 to 72 hours. It can even be accompanied with vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea. As a woman ages, these cramps become less painful and may even entirely stop after she has her first baby.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea is the pain which is caused due to a disorder in the woman’s reproductive organs, such as adenomyosis, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or any type of infection. Secondary dysmenorrhoea pain usually begins in the earlier days of the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than the common menstrual cramps. The pain is not accompanied by nausea, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea.


Symptoms of secondary dysmenorrhoea include:

  • Aching pain in the abdomen
  • Feeling of pressure in abdomen
  • Pain in the hips, inner thighs and lower back


Menstrual cramps are caused due to contractions in the uterus by a chemical called prostaglandin. The uterus, where the baby grows, contracts throughout the menstrual cycle and during menstruation, it contracts more strongly. If the contraction is too strong, it may press against the nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. The pain occurs when the muscle briefly loses the supply of oxygen.

Relieving Menstrual Cramps

Primary dysmenorrhoea or mild menstrual cramps can be treated by:

  • Aspirin or other pain relievers like Tylenol, Motrin, Naproxen. However, all medications should be taken after consulting your doctor.
  • Placing a heating pad on your lower back and abdomen.
  • Ova+ Period Pain Relief System – a natural form of pain relief which uses two electrode patches to be placed on the lower abdomen. Ova+ Period Pain Relief System can be worn under clothing the whole day.
  • Woman Stress Free – a skin attached device which delivers photon energy on the tissue to restore the damaged cells.

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