Menstrual Pain (Dysmenorrhea)

By | June 8, 2022

Menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea are among the most common concerns gynecologists are confronted with. Many women and girls are affected and accept their suffering. To understand why period pain occurs and how to treat and prevent it, read this post.

What is period pain?

Primary menstrual pain (technical term: dysmenorrhea) is the type of pain that begins during menstrual bleeding. For meanings of collagenosis, please visit

This is usually the case with affected girls and women from the first menstrual period. Menstrual pain can often drag on into menopause if left untreated.

The side effects can be individually different and also vary greatly in their strength.

Very young or very slim women are affected by menstrual pain with above-average frequency. Stress or psychological problems are factors that can aggravate the suffering.


Apart from the so-called secondary menstrual pain, which can be caused by gynecological diseases such as cysts or fibroids, the “usual” type of menstrual symptoms is favored by the fact that pain transmitters cause a contraction of the uterine muscles when the uterine lining is shed monthly.

The contraction of the muscles reduces the blood flow to the uterus and this causes the sometimes unbearable pain. It is therefore a purely biological process that has nothing to do with any abstruse theories.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The pain that many women experience during menstrual bleeding can vary in intensity. Some affected women are only plagued by mild symptoms. Others, on the other hand, complain about such severe symptoms that a normal everyday life is hardly possible.

Typical symptoms of menstrual pain are abdominal pain. These can be felt as pulling, but severe cramps are also possible. Other complaints associated with menstrual pain are diffuse abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, a feeling of fullness and headaches. Even with these symptoms, the intensity of the complaints can be very different.

In some women, signs of menstrual pain are already evident in the days leading up to the period. In most of those affected, the symptoms are most pronounced with the onset of menstrual bleeding and last for the first few days of the period, only to then slowly subside. Especially when the symptoms are associated with heavy bleeding over a few days, they are experienced as extremely stressful by the women affected.

Therefore, at the first sign of menstrual pain, many resort to appropriate medication that can alleviate the symptoms. Severe menstrual pain can also be a sign of an organic disease in the abdomen and should be examined by a doctor if the symptoms persist.

Course of the disease

Women who are affected by primary menstrual pain are often affected from the first menstrual period until menopause. However, menstrual symptoms often weaken after a few years of menstruation. This is because the complex hormonal cycle has to level off in young women. Once this has happened, the symptoms also improve. Also today no woman or girl has to live with these side effects. Because a number of therapies have been developed, from naturopathic to chemical to nutritional drugs, that provide relief.

Many women experience their menstruation without any problems, while other sufferers experience abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, tiredness, mood swings or a feeling of fullness even making them unable to work. In extreme cases, fainting can occur. Severe general malaise and unpleasant diarrhea can also be symptoms.


Serious complications of menstrual pain are rare and vary depending on the cause and type of dysmenorrhea. As a result of primary dysmenorrhea, there is mainly a severe reduction in quality of life. Affected women usually feel uncomfortable and suffer from severe symptoms. Secondary menstrual pain can be caused by serious diseases such as uterine inflammation or fibroids.

If these causes are not treated, further complications usually arise. In principle, the bleeding can lead to anemia and the resulting deficiency symptoms and physical discomfort. Also, vaginal inflammation and similar complaints cannot be ruled out in connection with menstrual pain.

Severe pain is rarely caused by a malformation or anomaly in the position of the uterus. More often, recurring dysmenorrhea points to stress and other psychological strains as well as an unhealthy lifestyle. Hormonal disorders can also be at the root and cause further complications if not treated.

In the treatment of menstrual pain, symptoms can only be caused by taking painkillers. Although light preparations are usually prescribed, these can also cause headaches, gastrointestinal problems and allergic reactions. Regular consumption can damage the liver and kidneys.

When should you go to the doctor?

Sexually mature girls or women have a very different experience of pain during their menstrual period. In addition, menstrual pain can vary in intensity and extent from cycle to cycle. Many sufferers experience pain in the middle of the menstrual cycle when ovulation takes place. This process is a natural process that does not need to be clarified by a doctor.

With the onset of menstruation, there is an increase in pain. In most cases there is no need to consult a doctor. Self-help measures and the avoidance of strenuous physical activities are often sufficient. The majority of those affected learn over time to deal with the symptoms well and to find individual solutions to improve the inconveniences. In addition to sporting activities, hot-water bottles and relaxation techniques help.

If the menstrual pain persists for more than two or three days, a doctor should be consulted. An increase in pain or a severe impairment caused by the symptoms over a longer period of time should be clarified. A pale appearance, internal weakness or a strong feeling of illness should be examined. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting or a disturbance of consciousness should be presented to a doctor. If the pain leads to a loss of consciousness, an ambulance must be called.

Treatment & Therapy

It has been proven that certain contraceptive preparations, such as various forms of the pill, can significantly alleviate or even completely eliminate menstrual problems and thus also menstrual pain. Which birth control pill is the best option must be clarified with the gynecologist. In addition, the painkiller ibuprofen apparently inhibits the body’s own pain transmitters that cause the symptoms.

An increased intake of iron and magnesium before and during menstruation can also reduce pain. It has also been proven that regular exercise can be helpful because it improves blood flow to the pelvis overall and prevents unpleasant side effects. Heat can also be a helpful factor. Hot-water bottles, sauna sessions and a warm bath can sometimes relieve the cramps in the uterus and thus bring relief to those affected.

Many women prefer to use natural remedies such as lady’s mantle, yarrow or lemon balm in the form of teas. Relaxation techniques like yoga can sometimes help too. Acupuncture or acupressure by a doctor trained in this regard is also recommended. Which methods are used must ultimately be tailored to the individual case. But there is definitely help.


Follow-up care for menstrual pain essentially depends on the causes of the dysmenorrhea. Since these are often of a harmless nature and do not require any special therapy, special aftercare is not required. However, if those affected take medication because of their menstrual pain, for example, this should be discussed with the treating doctor during regular check-ups in order to be able to avert side effects and long-term stress on the internal organs such as the liver or kidneys.

However, menstrual pain sometimes makes an operation on the abdomen necessary, for example in the case of endometriosis. After an operation, appointments for follow-up care are very important, for example to check the wound or the structure of the uterus in the ultrasound. If unexpected pain or bleeding occurs in connection with menstrual pain and an operation that has been carried out, a specialist should be contacted as quickly as possible, even outside of the follow-up appointments.

The doctor can then determine whether the symptoms are still within the expected range during aftercare or whether special treatment is necessary. In rare cases, menstrual pain can also be associated with cancer. Here, too, it is important that the appointments for follow-up care are kept by the patient after the therapy has been completed. Aftercare is primarily about recognizing new tumorous changes at an early stage and being able to act accordingly.

You can do that yourself

Various home remedies and measures can help with menstrual pain. Proven remedies such as heat in the form of hot- water bottles and pads, bed rest and a walk in the fresh air bring relief from cramps and pain. In the case of severe symptoms, antispasmodics from the pharmacy, such as yarrow or aloe vera, can help. Chamomile, cinquefoil and lady ‘s mantle teas have a similar effect and can be taken in conjunction with a relaxing bath.

Relaxation and breathing exercises are good distraction methods. Autogenic training exercises help the body to calm down during intense discomfort. This relieves the pain and also prevents the typical side effects such as tiredness and lethargy. In consultation with the doctor, alternative healing methods such as homeopathy or acupuncture can be tested.

If the dysmenorrhea does not decrease despite all measures, it is best to consult the gynecologist. The specialist can determine the causes of the intense pain and prescribe appropriate countermeasures. Sometimes severe menstrual pain is due to poor diet or lack of exercise, which needs to be addressed in collaboration with a nutritionist or physical therapist.

Menstrual Pain (Dysmenorrhea)