Dysmenorrhea, also known as dysmenorrhoea, painful periods, or menstrual cramps, is pain during menstruation.It usually begins around the time that menstruation begins. Symptoms typically last less than three days. The pain is usually in thepelvis or lower abdomen. Other symptoms may include back pain, diarrhea, or nausea.
In young women painful periods often occur without an underlying problem. In older women it is more often due to an underlying issues such as uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, or endometriosis. It is more common among those with heavy periods, irregular periods, whose periods started before twelve years of age, or who have a low body weight.A pelvic exam in those who are sexually active and ultrasound may be useful to help in diagnosis.Conditions that should be ruled out include ectopic pregnancy,pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, and chronic pelvic pain.