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Painful menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea)

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Stomach Pain

What is Painful menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea)?

Painful menstrual cramps, medically known as dysmenorrhea, refer to severe and often debilitating pelvic pain that occurs before or during menstruation. Dysmenorrhea can significantly disrupt a person's daily life and is a common gynecological condition among menstruating individuals.

What are the symptoms of Painful menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea)?

Symptoms of dysmenorrhea can vary in intensity but typically include:

  • Pelvic Pain: The most prominent symptom is sharp, cramp-like pain in the lower abdomen, which can radiate to the lower back and thighs.

  • Menstrual Pain Onset: The pain typically begins just before menstruation or at the onset of menstrual bleeding and can last for several days.

  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Some individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea alongside menstrual cramps.

  • Headaches: Headaches and dizziness can occasionally accompany severe dysmenorrhea.

  • Fatigue: Painful periods can be physically exhausting, leading to fatigue and reduced energy levels.

  • Emotional Changes: Mood swings and irritability are not uncommon during dysmenorrhea.

What are the treatments available for Painful menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea)?

Several treatments are available to manage and alleviate painful menstrual cramps:

  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation when taken as directed.

  • Prescription Medications: In cases of severe dysmenorrhea, your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger pain relief medications or hormonal birth control methods like birth control pills, patches, or intrauterine devices (IUDs) to regulate and reduce menstrual pain.

  • Heat Therapy: Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the lower abdomen can provide soothing relief.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques can help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.

  • Alternative Therapies: Some people find relief through complementary therapies like acupuncture, acupressure, or dietary supplements. Consult with a healthcare provider before trying alternative treatments.

  • Surgery: In rare cases where dysmenorrhea is caused by underlying conditions like endometriosis or fibroids, surgery may be necessary to address the root cause of the pain.



It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and medical history. Effective management of dysmenorrhea can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals experiencing painful menstrual cramps. If you are experiencing painful menstrual cramps, consult Dr Daniel Koh today!

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