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Dysmenorrhea Treatment


St. Joseph’s Adolescent Medicine Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona specializes in the treatment of adolescent menstrual disorders, including dysmenorrhea.

Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain associated with menstruation. Dysmenorrhea may be classified as primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea involves severe and frequent menstrual cramping caused by abnormal uterine contractions, from the beginning of menstruation and may continue throughout life. Secondary dysmenorrhea is due to a separate medical condition and usually of later onset.

Causes Of Dysmenorrhea In Teens

The cause of dysmenorrhea depends on whether the condition is primary or secondary. In general, females with primary dysmenorrhea experience abnormal uterine contractions as a result of a chemical imbalance in the body.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by other medical conditions, most often endometriosis. Other possible causes of secondary dysmenorrhea include the following:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Abnormal pregnancy (i.e., miscarriage, ectopic)
  • Infection, tumors, or polyps in the pelvic cavity

Symptoms Of Dysmenorrhea In Adolescents

The following are the most common symptoms of dysmenorrhea. However, each adolescent may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • cramping in the lower abdomen
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • low back pain
  • pain radiating down the legs
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • fainting
  • headaches

Diagnosis of Dysmenorrhea

Diagnosis begins with an evaluation of the teen's medical history and a complete physical examination, including a pelvic examination. In addition, diagnostic procedures for dysmenorrhea may include:

  • ultrasound
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • laparoscopy
  • hysteroscopy

Treatment Of Dysmenorrhea In Teens

Our adolescent medicine physician will work with each family to discuss the best treatment methods. Possible treatment protocols for managing dysmenorrhea symptoms in adolescent women may include the following:

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  • prostaglandin inhibitors (such as aspirin, ibuprofen) - to reduce pain
  • acetaminophen
  • oral contraceptives
  • progesterone (hormone treatment)
  • dietary modifications
  • vitamin supplements
  • regular exercise
  • heating pad across the abdomen
  • hot bath or shower
  • abdominal massage

Learn More About The Adolescent Medicine Clinic

To learn more about how St. Joseph’s Adolescent Medicine Clinic can help, call 602.406.7564.