Dysmenorrhoea (Period Pain)

Dysmenorrhoea (Period Pain)


Dysmenorrhoea, or period pain, is a common yet variable condition experienced during menstrual cycles, ranging from mild discomfort to severe disruption. Understanding its nature is vital, as it may signal underlying health issues. Our healthcare team offers comprehensive, compassionate care, ensuring tailored advice and effective management of your symptoms.

What Is Dysmenorrhoea?

Dysmenorrhoea is characterised by cramps in the lower abdomen during menstruation, varying from mild to severe. Symptoms often include throbbing pain in the abdomen, extending to the back and thighs, accompanied by nausea, fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms can significantly impact daily life, highlighting the importance of understanding and addressing dysmenorrhoea effectively.

Types of Dysmenorrhoea

Dysmenorrhoea is categorised into two main types: primary and secondary, each with distinct characteristics and underlying causes.

Primary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to common menstrual cramps that are not associated with any other medical condition. These cramps typically begin 1-2 days before menstruation and may last from 2 to 4 days. They are usually the result of natural chemicals in the body called prostaglandins, which are involved in pain and inflammation. Symptoms often lessen with age and may improve after childbirth.

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

Secondary dysmenorrhoea is period pain that’s linked to an underlying reproductive system disorder. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease can cause these more severe cramps. Unlike primary dysmenorrhoea, the pain often begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer. This type of dysmenorrhoea may worsen over time, and addressing the underlying condition is crucial for relief.

Symptoms of Dysmenorrhoea

Dysmenorrhoea manifests in various ways, affecting individuals differently. The intensity and type of symptoms can range from mild to severe, impacting daily activities and overall well-being. It’s important to recognise these symptoms to understand your menstrual health better and seek appropriate care when needed.

Common symptoms include:

  • Cramps: A sharp, intermittent pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen.
  • Throbbing: A pulsating sensation that can vary in intensity.
  • Pressure: A feeling of heaviness or fullness in the pelvic area.
  • Aching: A continuous, dull pain that may persist throughout the menstrual period.
  • Pain in Hips, Lower Back, and Inner Thighs: Discomfort that extends beyond the abdominal area, affecting surrounding regions.
  • Headaches: Ranging from mild to severe, often accompanying other menstrual symptoms.

Each symptom can present uniquely, and their combination can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life during menstruation. Understanding these symptoms is a step towards effective management and relief.

Diagnosing Dysmenorrhoea

The diagnosis of dysmenorrhoea begins with a detailed medical history, focusing on menstrual patterns and pain characteristics, to differentiate between primary and secondary types. A physical examination, especially a pelvic exam, follows to detect any reproductive organ abnormalities.

Further diagnostic tests like ultrasound, MRI, or laparoscopy may be conducted if needed, particularly for identifying conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. This thorough approach ensures a tailored and effective treatment plan for managing period pain.

Relieving Pain Caused By Dysmenorrhoea

For those experiencing milder symptoms of dysmenorrhoea, especially those linked to digestive discomfort, there are several steps that can provide temporary relief. These measures are particularly effective in easing general menstrual discomfort and improving overall well-being during this period.

How to Relieve Period Pain

Here are some effective ways to relieve period pain at home:

  • Heat Therapy: Applying a heat pack to the lower abdomen can soothe uterine muscle contractions and reduce cramps.
  • Exercise Regularly: Engaging in light exercise, like walking or yoga, can improve blood flow and alleviate menstrual discomfort.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking adequate water helps reduce bloating and ease menstrual pain.
  • Eat Well: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help manage menstrual symptoms.
  • Reduce Stress: Practices like meditation, deep breathing, or gentle yoga can help lower stress levels, which may worsen menstrual pain.
  • Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can be effective in managing menstrual cramps.
  • Rest: Getting enough sleep and rest during your period can help your body cope better with menstrual pain.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Reducing intake of caffeine, salty, and sugary foods can help minimise bloating and discomfort.
  • Massage: Gently massaging the lower abdomen can help relax muscles and reduce pain.
  • Stay Warm: Keeping your body warm, especially the lower abdomen and feet, can help ease menstrual cramps.

Dysmenorrhoea Treatment

Severe period pain has various treatment options, tailored to individual diagnoses and discussed with your GP or consultant.


Prescription-strength NSAIDs and hormonal contraceptives are common treatments for severe dysmenorrhoea. These medications regulate menstrual cycles and reduce pain, but it’s important to understand their benefits and side effects with your healthcare provider.

Hormonal Therapy

For conditions like endometriosis, hormonal treatments such as IUDs, GnRH agonists, and progestin therapies can be effective. The choice of therapy is based on your specific condition and health.


Surgery may be necessary for severe cases involving conditions like fibroids or adenomyosis. Options range from minimally invasive procedures to more extensive surgeries, depending on the condition’s severity and individual health factors.

When To Get Help for Period Pain

For persistent or severe period pain, it’s important to seek medical assistance. Mid Ulster Clinic provides private treatment, offering personalised care for your specific needs. Our experienced team is ready to help you manage your symptoms effectively. Don’t hesitate to contact Mid Ulster Clinic for a consultation and take control of your menstrual health.

Why Go Private for Dysmenorrhoea Treatment?

Opting for private healthcare in treating dysmenorrhoea means benefiting from shorter waiting times, personalised treatment plans, and quick access to experienced consultants. This approach ensures a high-quality, tailored, and comfortable healthcare experience, providing prompt and expert care for your specific needs.

Last Reviewed By A Medical Professional On 01/29/24