Dysmenorrhea affects many so know that you are not alone.
Dysmenorrhea, or painful periods, affect countless women every cycle. Within dysmenorrhea there are two types - Primary dysmenorrhea, commonly understood as menstrual cramps, and Secondary, pain caused by a disorder in the woman’s reproductive organs.
Primary dysmenorrhea - The cramps usually begin once the period has started, and are felt in the lower abdomen or back. However, some women will feel the cramps a few days before their period is coming. The pain can range from mild to severe, and in some women it is so debilitating that they cannot function when they are having cramps.
Secondary dysmenorrhea - The cramps will usually begin earlier in the cycle, and last longer. Causes of secondary dysmenorrhea can be, but are not limited to, endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, or infection. Endometriosis is where tissue that lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus. Adenomyosis is where the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. Fibroids are growths in the uterus, on the uterus, or in the walls of the uterus. Infections can be caused by any bacteria that starts in the uterus, and moves into the other reproductive organs.
When it comes to treating dysmenorrhea, the first thing is figuring out if it is primary or secondary. If it is secondary then treating the underlying disease is the course. Most often I will start with saliva hormone testing to see what is going on with the hormones, and then work at balancing those hormones. This is how I go about treating both types of dysmenorrhea. Often, I will also look into things that can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore, with some of my patients I will look at how food is affecting them as food can be our best medicine, or it can be our greatest poison. I recently came across this short video on treatment of dysmenorrhea with a vegan diet. Please enjoy watching it. And, if you are, or a loved one is, dealing with dysmenorrhea know there is help out there. Please get in touch with me so that I can help you.