Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhoea)

  • Leilani Johnston Amayeza Information Centre
Keywords: menstrual pain, dysmenorrhoea, risk factors, causes, management


On average, women have a menstrual period every 28 days with bleeding (menstruation) lasting approximately four to seven days. During this time, the muscles of the uterus contract in response to hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, produced by the lining of the uterus. The levels of the prostaglandins increase prior to menstruation, and peak at the start of the menses. The levels decline again as a woman menstruates, resulting in less uterine discomfort or cramps after the first few days of the menstrual period. Most women experience some pain or discomfort during the menses. However, some experience dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) or “difficult menstrual flow”, which may present as moderate to severe cramps or pain in the lower abdomen or lower back, diarrhoea or constipation, heavy menstrual flow, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, headache or dizziness.

Author Biography

Leilani Johnston, Amayeza Information Centre
BPharm Amayeza Information Centre
Women's Health