Half of all women are significantly affected by menstrual pain. In young women painkillers are effective. Older women should be investigated more closely to find the cause. A hormone spiral can reduce menstrual pain.
Menstrual pain is very common - about 50% of women are bothered by menstrual pain.
In young women/girls, menstrual pain starts 6-12 months after their first menstrual period. Up to 90% of the young women complain of menstrual pain that affects their everyday lives and 10-15% have one or more sick days each month.
Menstrual pain is due to normal contractions in the uterus - not a disease.
Over time, and especially after giving birth, the pain decreases. The menstrual pain is described as spasm-like downward in the stomach, groin and lumbar. There may also be thin bowel movements as well as nausea and vomiting. The pain lasts from a few hours to a few days.
In slightly older women - usually between the ages of 30 and 40 years - menstrual pain may be due to different conditions.
A copper IUD (intrauterine device) can cause menstrual pain, whereas a hormone IUD reduces menstrual pain.
Various diseases (infection of the uterus, muscle lumps and endometriosis) can also cause menstrual pain.
In very young women, the menstrual periods can be treated with painkillers and/or birth control pills. In older women, treatment will depend on the cause of the pain.