Dysmenorrhea is referred to as “extremely painful menstruation“. Most women exhibit some amount of pain during menstruation but this is more extreme than normal.

However, in this case, the pain is so severe that it may limit what a woman is able to accomplish on a daily basis. Her activities may be severely limited.

Most women begin having dysmenorrhea during adolescence. In many cases, dysmenorrhea may begin within 4 or 5 years of her first menstrual period.

Often, the painful periods become less common as women age. Unless there are other issues such as fibroids, endometriosis, cancer, and other issues.

If pain is increasing as you get older, it is important to have a full work-up to see what else may be happening.

Potential Causes

Prostaglandins are chemicals that are formed in the lining of the uterus during menstruation.

These prostaglandins can cause muscle contractions of the Uterus.  The resulting pain can decrease blood flow and oxygen to the uterus.

Similar to labor pains, these contractions can cause significant pain and discomfort.


–  Severe pain
–  Dull pain
–  Throbbing pain
–  Cramping
–  Sharp pressure or pain
–  Burning sensation
–  Nausea
–  Diarrhea
–  Back pain
–  Abdominal pain
–  Leg pain
–  Vaginal or Pelvic pain
–  or others

Additional Information

It can begin as early as 1 year following first menstruation. For some individuals, menstruation becomes less severe but the majority have increased pain.

50 to 80% of women are affected at some time in their life. It is most often described as a pin or cramping in the pelvic area that can be felt from you back down to the knees.

Cramping is associated with nausea, vomiting, headache, irritation, flushing. The pain is often from vasoconstriction of the Uterus.


–   NSAIDs
–   Omega-3-fatty acids
–   Magnesium
–   Vitamin E
–   Zinc
–   Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
–   Hormonal Contraception
.      Norplant
.      Depo-provera
.      IUD’s