• Dysmenorrhoea, also known as painful menstruation or periods, is one of the most common health care problems in women during their reproductive years. It is also one of the main causes of absenteeism from school or work, and affects the quality of women's lives.
  • Approximately 30-50% of all women suffer from dysmenorrhoea during their menstrual periods.
  • Depending on the cause, painful menstruation is traditionally classified as primary or secondary dysmenorrhoea. Primary dysmenorrhoea, also called menstrual cramps, is related to prostaglandins, certain hormones that are produced naturally in the body. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is the occurrence of pelvic pain, together with menstruation, due to a disease within the pelvis.
  • Primary dysmenorrhoea is more common in younger women and can present in teenagers within three years of their menarche (first menstrual period).
  • Secondary dysmenorrhoea can occur at any age and is related to a number of medical conditions.


Symptoms of dysmenorrhoea can include:

  • Pain low in the abdomen that can spread to the lower back and legs
  • Pain that is gripping or experienced as a constant ache, or a combination of both
  • Typically, the pain starts on or before the period starts
  • The first 24 hours is the most painful
  • Clots are passed in the menstrual blood.

Dysmenorrhoea can be associated with:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhoea or constipation
  • Fainting
  • Premenstrual symptoms, such as tender breasts and a swollen abdomen, which might continue throughout the period

Different types

Two types of dysmenorrhoea are distinguished, namely:

  • Primary dysmenorrhoea
  • Secondary dysmenorrhoea

Causes of primary dysmenorrhoea

In primary dysmenorrhoea, the uterus works too hard to dislodge its lining and the resulting contractions and associated ischaemia (reduced blood flow) cause pain. The hormone-like compounds that prompt these contractions are prostaglandins.

Women with dysmenorrhoea tend to have raised levels of prostaglandins, which cause more intense contractions of the uterus than normal. The reason for the increased prostaglandins isn't known.

Causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea

Some of the causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea include:

  • Endometriosis - the cells lining the uterus move to other areas of the pelvis, causing severe pain during periods.
  • Fibroids - benign tumours made of muscle and tissue that grow inside the uterus and are thought to be affected by the sex hormone oestrogen.

Discomfort during menstrual periods can range from slightly annoying to agonizing. For many women, cramps, low back pain, aching legs, a heavy feeling in the abdomen and pelvis, digestive upsets, diarrhea, headaches, weakness, depression, and emotional stress can ruin several days each month. Homeopathic remedies can help soothe these miseries, and often help reduce a woman's tendency toward menstrual problems. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat dysmenorrhea but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility.


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