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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)

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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.