Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) can cause days of agony and distress every month. If your menstrual cycle causes unbearable period pain, The Women’s Health Group, P.A. can help. At the practice’s offices in West and East Manhattan, Kansas, a highly experienced team of OB/GYNs can diagnose the condition causing your painful periods and find the most effective treatments. For an answer to the problem of painful periods, call The Women’s Health Group, P.A. today or book an appointment online.
Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) are a common problem affecting more than half of all women who menstruate. The pain is an intense, deep aching and tenderness that spreads across your whole abdomen and often into your back. There are two kinds of painful periods:
Primary dysmenorrhea is the most likely cause of painful periods. Women with primary dysmenorrhea experience severe menstrual cramps because of the high levels of prostaglandins in their bodies (natural chemicals made by your uterine lining).
Prostaglandin levels tend to be higher at the beginning of your period, making the first day the most painful. As the uterine lining sheds, prostaglandin levels fall, and your pain lessens each day. Primary dysmenorrhea usually starts soon after you begin menstruating.
Secondary dysmenorrhea results from a reproductive system disorder and might not begin until you reach your 20s or 30s. Secondary dysmenorrhea pain typically worsens as your period progresses rather than improving. It might begin several days before your period and persist when your period ends.
Painful periods resulting from secondary dysmenorrhea are often due to endometriosis. This condition develops when the tissue lining your uterus (the endometrium) starts growing in other places, such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and behind your uterus.
Endometrial tissue plugs react to the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, so they break down and bleed just like the endometrium in your uterus. However, the blood and tissue from the plugs can’t leave your body through your vagina in the same way.
As a result, areas of scar tissue (adhesions) form inside your pelvis. These adhesions can stick your organs and tissues together, causing pain that worsens during your period.
Uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths) can sometimes cause painful periods as well.
If your painful periods result from primary dysmenorrhea, you can manage it using medication to relieve the pelvic pain and cramping. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen work best because they act on the prostaglandins causing your pain.
Hormonal medications can also resolve period pain and have additional benefits, such as reducing heavy bleeding and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Your OB/GYN might prescribe birth control pills, injections, implants, patches, vaginal rings, or hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Additional options for secondary dysmenorrhea include:
If you need surgery for painful periods, The Women’s Health Group, P.A. specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery techniques.
For a solution to painful periods, call The Women’s Health Group, P.A. today or book an appointment online.