A brief overview of the main causes of painful periods in most women.
I have personally met lots of ladies complaining about experiencing painful monthly periods, most of the women say that this occurs during the first day and they usually wonder is this normal? A misconception about this condition is that ladies who experience painful periods are likely to be barren. So what is the truth about painful periods?
Painful periods are a common complaint especially among young women. The problem usually starts 2 -3 years after the first menses, and may persist till marriage and childbirth or with use of oral contraceptive pills. In such a setting id is referred to as primary dysmenorrhea, since the cause is unknown. It is thought to be related to hormonal influences as it coincides with onset of ovulatory periods (in the initial 2-3 instances of menstruation there may be no ovulation). If the pain stops with the use of contraceptive pills that suppress ovulation, then this suggests the cause was hormonal. In its primary form dysmenorohoea is not associated with infertility. What your peers tell you is related to a similar situation occurring under different circumstances.
Pain typically starts 16-12 hours before the onset of menstrual flow and subsides once the flow is fully established. The condition is common and a strong psychic influence with positive outlook helps many to cope. However, if the condition disrupts normal activity, the use of the non steroidal anti inflammatory analgesics (including the ubiquitous aspirin) and a drug to relieve the spasms (such as buscopan) helps to improve the symptoms.
Secondary dysmenorohoea occurs in a person with a background of pelvic inflammatory disease, where the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus may have a smoldering low grade infection. This type is often seen in sexually experienced individuals who have had normal periods before developing dysmenorohoea . The pain characteristics are just the same except that in secondary dysmenorohoea the pain tends to be persistent and may be accompanied by low grade fever, lower abdominal discomfort and low backache pains. In the primary form the pains tend to be colicky (coming in spasms) forcing you to literally double up.
In the case of secondary dysmenorohoea care has to be taken as the infection normally requires effective treatment, if it persists it can lead to adhesions and tube blockage. In extreme cases it may lead to a frozen pelvis (by adhesions). This development is often associated with infertility if left to run on its own. Early effective treatment no only prevents this eventuality but also treats the dysmenorohoea. It should be emphasized that the two conditions are not mutually exclusive: primary dysmenorohoea, when complicated by pelvic inflammatory disease, will develop similar characteristics and complications as secondary dysmenorohoea.