Dysmenorrhoea is defined as painful menses and is reported by up to 50-90% of women.
It is described as
primary dysmenorrhoea if no underlying cause of the pain is found and the reproductive organs and pelvis are seemingly normal. This appears to be more common in younger women and tends to resolve with increasing age.
Other risk factors include BMI <20 kg/m2, smoking, menarche before age 12, longer cycles and longer duration of bleeding, irregular or heavy flow, and a history of sexual assault.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea is menses pain where an underlying condition causing the pain is found by your doctor. For example this may be endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids or pelvic infection. The most common cause of secondary dysmenorrhoea is endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a common condition affecting around 8 percent of the female population.
It is caused by the lining of the womb (endometrium) appearing in other places in the body. Most commonly, endometriosis occurs inside the pelvic area and attaches to the ovaries, the ligaments behind the womb, the tissue layer lining the pelvis, the bladder and ureters or the intestine.
Endometriosis can occur in minimal
amounts (Stage 1) through to severe
amounts (Stage 4). The cause of
endometriosis is still unknown.
Adenomyosis is endometriosis in the
muscle layer of the womb itself.
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