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Menstrual Pain (cont.)

Menstrual Cramps Diagnosis

The health care professional will take a detailed medical history, as well as questions about the menstrual cramps and symptoms. Be prepared to discuss these details:

  • The timing of the cramps in relation to the start of the menstrual period
  • Type and duration of pain
  • Age when the cramps first started and age of the onset of menstruation
  • Any recent change in the pain
  • History of irregular periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • History of pain with intercourse
  • Infertility
  • History of pelvic infections
  • Current medications including birth control measures

The doctor will perform a pelvic exam to explore any problems. If there are concerns about a possible infection, culture of the cervix and a blood test will confirm the diagnosis. Additional tests may be ordered.

  • The doctor may order a pregnancy test if the menstrual periods are irregular, or if the woman is not using birth control on a regular basis.
  • An ultrasound examination is necessary if the doctor discovers any abnormal masses during the pelvic exam. The doctor may order other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which more clearly shows the internal structures.
  • A doctor may order a laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure allowing the doctor to look directly into the pelvic cavity with a fiber-optic scope.
  • A hysteroscopy is another possible procedure. By inserting a hysteroscope (lighted instrument) through the vagina, the doctor can see the cervix and inside the uterus.

Some of these tests assist in ruling out other causes of cramps such as an ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or other infections or abnormalities.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2014

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Dysmenorrhea is defined as difficult menstrual flow or painful menstruation.

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