What causes dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea -- painful periods -- is caused by the monthly menstrual cycle. For the average woman, every 28 days, the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant in the lining. If no egg is fertilized, the lining sheds, flowing out through the vagina during menstruation. The process of the uterus contracting to shed its lining causes primary dysmenorrhea. Levels of the hormone prostaglandin, which peak prior to menstruation, may also increase sensitivity to pain during menstruation. Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by an underlying gynecological condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids. This may cause pain before, during, and after menstruation.

Continue Learning about Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

Does primary dysmenorrhea affect fertility?
Sigma NursingSigma Nursing
Primary dysmenorrhea does not affect your fertility. The most common cause of primary dysmenorrhea i...
More Answers
Does secondary dysmenorrhea affect fertility?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Secondary dysmenorrhea affects the body by causing pain and discomfort in the back and abdomen every...
More Answers
Why do I have such severe abdominal pain during my period?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Abdominal pain during your period could mean more than normal cramping -- it could be a sign of endo...
More Answers
Should I talk to my doctor about my dysmenorrhea symptoms?
Sigma NursingSigma Nursing
One out of two women who have their period suffer from dysmenorrhea. Most women who experience prima...
More Answers

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.