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Painful menstruation or menstrual cramps. There are two types of dysmenorrhoea -- primary dysmenorrhoea is a recurring condition, usually beginning shortly after the onset of menstruation in a young girl. Secondary dysmenorrhoea develops later in life, after a women has been menstruating for some time.
Persons most commonly affected: Teenagers and in women who have never been pregnant.
Organ or part of body involved: Female reproductive system.
Symptoms and indications: Symptoms include a dull, throbbing cramping in the lower abdomen that may radiate to the lower back and thighs. In addition, some women may experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, sweating, or dizziness. Cramps usually last for two or three days at the beginning of each menstrual period. Many women often notice their painful periods disappear after they have their first child, probably due to the stretching of the opening of the uterus or because the birth improves the uterine blood supply and muscle activity, although others do not notice a change.
Causes and risk factors: The cause of primary dysmenorrhoea is thought to be the release of prostaglandins from the lining of the uterus shortly before the beginning of a menstrual period. The resulting contractions constrict blood vessels in the uterus, causing pain in the same way that a decrease in blood supply to the heart causes chest pain. The reason for this excessive production of prostaglandins is not known. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is usually a result of another reproductive problem, such as fibroid tumors, a nervous cervix, or endometriosis.
Prevention: Home naturals often help to ease menstrual pain and relieve pressure. These include placing a hot-water bottle or heating on the abdomen, taking hot baths, and lying on the back with the knees bent, and decreasing salt intake a day or two before period are due. Quit smoking as it has been found to worsen cramps.