Dysmenorrhea, which can be classified as primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhea, is the medical term for difficult menstrual cramps and painful periods that are the most common part of your cycle. These include cramps before periods, diarrhea during periods and cramps after periods. If you’re wondering how to stop period cramps, get treatment for dysmenorrhea. Your gynecologist in Queens, NYC can provide dysmenorrhea treatment.
For many women, getting menstrual cramps is a routine event that begins anywhere from six months to two years after menarche or menstrual onset. Cramps can be mild to severe and usually occur in your lower belly and back. They may lessen over time or even disappear altogether after the birth of your first child, so for some women, pregnancy is how to stop period cramps. Painful cramps, technically called dysmenorrhea, are the leading cause of missed school for young women, and they’re in the top five reasons for missing work.
Dysmenorrhea occurs because your uterus is a muscle that contracts to some degree throughout your cycle. If the contractions are too strong, they put pressure on blood vessels and temporarily cut off oxygen to your uterus. This lack of oxygen causes the pain and menstrual cramps.
Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea
Your Forest Hills, Queens specialist classifies your cramps as primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea are painful periods in young women directly related to their cycle. Symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea involve:
- Onset shortly after menarche — usually within six months, but possibly up to two years
- Normal duration of 48 to 72 hours, often starting several hours before your normal flow
- Cramping or labor-like pains
- Constant abdominal aching, radiating to your back, hips or thighs
- Feeling of pressure in your belly
- Unremarkable pelvic exam results
Secondary dysmenorrhea occurs in women often between the ages of 30 to 45, indicating a problem or organic disease in your reproductive organs. Symptoms of secondary dysmenorrhea include:
- Symptoms beginning in your 20s or 30, with no previous painful cycles
- Heavy menstrual flow or irregular bleeding
- Pelvic abnormality on exam
- Poor response to NSAIDs or oral contraceptives
- Painful intercourse
- Vaginal discharge
When either form of dysmenorrhea is particularly severe, you may suffer from an upset stomach with possible vomiting and diarrhea during your period. If any of these symptoms continue to be severe, don’t respond to normal over-the-counter medications, adversely affect your quality of life or have sudden onset, make an appointment with your gynecologist in Queens, NYC.
Reasons for Secondary Dysmenorrhea
Many different structural issues or organic diseases may contribute to secondary dysmenorrhea, such as:
- Endometriosis, which is when uterine lining tissue is found outside your uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which occurs when an infection spreads from your uterus to other reproductive organs
- Stenosis or narrowing of your cervix, usually caused by scarring or lack of estrogen at menopause
- Adenomyosis, the thickening of your uterine walls
- Ovarian cysts or tumors
- Uterine polyps
- Intrauterine adhesions
- Intrauterine device
- Transverse vaginal septum, a rare congenital malformation of the uterine structure
- Pelvic congestion syndrome, which involves chronic varicose veins in your abdomen
- Allen-Masters syndrome, which is pelvic pain and flow due to a laceration of the broad uterine ligament, often during delivery
Prognosis for primary dysmenorrhea is usually very good. You can treat it with over-the-counter medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for controlling symptoms. The outlook for secondary dysmenorrhea depends on the medical cause of your menstrual cramps.
Amenorrhea is the cessation of the menstrual flow. It usually occurs due to pregnancy, a problem with your reproductive organs or improper hormone levels. If it’s one of the latter reasons, infertility and osteoporosis issues may occur at the same time. Problems with breastfeeding, menopause, contraceptives, other medications, low body weight, excessive exercise, stress, uterine scarring, and structural abnormalities or lack of reproductive organs also may exist. Symptoms can include:
- Milky nipple discharge
- Absence of menstrual flow
- Hair loss
- Vision changes
- Excess facial hair
- Pelvic pain
Diagnosis for Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea
Some of the same tests are conducted for both dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea. The goal is to determine the underlying reasons or to rule out organic or structural causes. Your Forest Hills, Queens gynecologist may request any combination of the following:
- Blood count with differential
- Gonococcal and chlamydial cultures
- Stool culture
- Cancer antigen 125
- Dilation and curettage
- Pregnancy test
- Thyroid function test
- Ovary function test
- Prolactin test
- Male hormone tests
- CT scan
This is a long list, but your doctor doesn’t require all these. However, the exact nature of your dysmenorrhea or amenorrhea must be determined for accurate treatment. The best OB/GYN in NYC knows how to narrow down your diagnosis.
Amenorrhea and Dysmenorrhea Treatments
If you aren’t pregnant, amenorrhea might be the result of lifestyle decisions. You may be exercising too much, eating too little or feeling too much stress. Reduce how much you exercise. Increase the amount of food you eat, and consume a balanced diet. Lower your daily life stress or conflicts. Personal trainers, nutritionists, and counselors all can help.
Treatment for dysmenorrhea depends on whether it’s primary or secondary in nature. If it’s secondary dysmenorrhea, your gynecologist in Queens, NYC works with you to resolve the underlying issues. If primary dysmenorrhea is the diagnosis, you can take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to relieve your symptoms. Other helpful tips include:
- Heat from a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or stomach
- Avoid caffeine and salt
- Stop using tobacco and alcohol
- Regular exercise
As a best in class Queens gynecologist, Dr. James Gohar provides highly personalized and comprehensive care. His philosophy regarding the doctor/patient relationship is based on trust and has earned him one of the most respected reputations in Queens NY.
For more information about the dysmenorrhea treatment options or to schedule a consultation with the (gynecologist) OBGYN doctor, the best rated Dysmenorrhea treatment specialist, Dr. James Gohar, please contact our Queens office.
Gynecologist Dr. James Gohar (OBGYN Doctor)
Forest Hills Medical Services
108-16 63rd Rd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
☎ (718) 897-5331