Menstrual Pain (cont.)
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Menstrual Cramps Causes
Primary dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) occurs in the absence of any anatomic abnormalities or causes for the pain. This type of painful menstruation is most often seen in young women in the years following the onset of menstruation.
Secondary dysmenorrhea refers to painful menstrual cramps that occur as the result of another medical condition such as endometriosis. This condition most commonly occurs in older women (30-45 years of age).
Prostaglandins are chemicals a woman's body produces that cause many of the symptoms associated with menstrual discomfort. The tissue that lines the uterus makes these chemicals. Prostaglandins stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. Women who have high levels of prostaglandin experience more intense contractions of their uterus and more pain. Prostaglandins may also be responsible for vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches that accompany painful periods.
Other menstrual-type pain or secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by conditions of the reproductive tract, such as the following:
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