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How does dysmenorrhea affect the body?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Dysmenorrhea refers to intense pain and cramping during the menstrual cycle. Menstruation occurs when the uterus contracts to shed its lining. This contraction limits blood flow to the uterus, causing lower back and abdominal pain. Additional effects of this contraction include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and headache. If an underlying gynecological condition is causing dysmenorrhea, these conditions may also cause issues with fertility and pregnancy.

Primary dysmenorrhea affects the body by causing pain and discomfort in the back and abdomen every month for a few days. Depending on when and how long the prostaglandin that triggers primary dysmenorrhea is at its highest, you could be affected by primary dysmenorrhea a couple of days before your period begins and it may last throughout the menstruation. Pain and cramping will be at its worst when the release of prostaglandins reaches its peak.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.