WomanCare Clinic

Meriter WomanCare Clinic
20 S. Park Street, Suite 450
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 417-5433 or 1-888-409-3852

UW Health - OB/GYN
20 S. Park Street, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 287-2830


Dysmenorrhea is a condition characterized by frequent and painful menstrual cramps.

Alternative Names

  • Painful Periods
  • Painful Menstruation
  • Menstrual Cramps

Symptoms associated with Dysmenorrhea:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Low back pain
  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is a condition that consists of painful menstrual cramps. This happens throughout the menstrual cycle. The number one treatment for this condition is taking birth control pills to decrease the pain. During a woman’s period, the uterus contracts strongly, which increases the amount of symptoms. As a woman gets older, her periods often become less painful.

To Relieve Pain From Dysmenorrhea:

  • Take birth control pills (if prescribed by a physician)
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medicine (ibuprofen)
  • Apply a heating pad to the lower abdomen
  • Drink warm beverages
  • Eat lightly but more frequently
  • Take warm showers or baths
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep

The cause of dysmenorrhea depends on whether the condition is primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrheal is frequent menstrual cramping that has an unknown cause. This type of cramping may begin within six months to a year after the beginning of menstruation, the time when a girl starts having menstrual periods.

Secondary dysmenorrheal is menstrual pain caused by another medical condition present in the body, usually involving a woman’s reproductive system. With secondary dysmenorrheal, pain often begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and usually lasts longer than normal cramps.

Some common causes of Secondary Dysmenorrhea are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease