Types of Dysmenorrhea
There are two types of dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the cramping pain that comes before or during a period. This pain is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins that are made in the lining of the uterus. Prostaglandins cause the muscles and blood vessels of the uterus to contract. This occurs when you first start your period and continues throughout your life. It is usually life-long. It can cause severe and frequent menstrual cramping from severe and abnormal uterine contractions.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by a disorder in the reproductive organs. The pain tends to get worse over time and it often lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps. For example, the pain may begin a few days before a period starts. The pain may get worse as the period continues and may not go away after it ends.
Symptoms of menstrual cramps include:
- Throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen that can be intense
- Pain that starts 1 to 3 days before your period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of your period and subsides in 2 to 3 days
- Dull, continuous ache
- Pain that radiates to your lower back and thighs
- Loose stools