Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View the Birth Control Options Slideshow

Quick GuidePremenstrual Syndrome Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to PMS Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Premenstrual Syndrome Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to PMS Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What is the treatment of secondary dysmenorrhea?

The treatment of secondary dysmenorrhea depends on its cause. There are a number of underlying conditions which can contribute to the pain including:

All of these conditions should be first diagnosed by a physician who will then recommend the optimal treatment.

If a woman begins to experience changes in her menstrual cramps, such as in their severity, timing, or location, she should consult her physician, especially if the changes are of sudden onset.

What is the long-term outlook (prognosis) for menstrual cramps?

In general, a woman's menstrual cramps do not worsen during her lifetime. In fact, the menstrual cramps of primary dysmenorrhea usually diminish with age and after pregnancy.

When there is secondary dysmenorrhea with an underlying condition contributing to the pain, the prognosis depends on the successful treatment of that underlying condition.

As women have learned more about their bodies and how to maintain them in optimal health, menstrual cramps have become less debilitating, and more often, merely a minor monthly inconvenience.

Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE:

MedscapeReference.
Menstruation Disorders.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Menstrual Cramps - Effective Treatments

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your menstrual cramps?

    Post View 45 Comments
  • Menstrual Cramps - Experiences

    How often do you experience menstrual cramps?

    Post View 70 Comments
  • Menstrual Cramps - Other Causes

    Do foods, stress, daily activities or other factors worsen menstrual cramps? How do you manage and treat these other causes or triggers?

    Post View 7 Comments
  • Menstrual Cramps - Symptoms

    Please describe the symptoms of your menstrual cramps.

    Post View 12 Comments
  • Menstrual Cramps - Adolescent Girls

    If you are under age 18, describe your experience with menstrual cramps.

    Post View 14 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors