Children's Hospital Colorado


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What is dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term used to describe painful periods and cramps that teens and young adults may have before or during their menstrual period. This pain may be severe enough to interfere with daily life, causing those with dysmenorrhea to miss school or work. For many, however, dysmenorrhea gets better with age.

What causes dysmenorrhea?

The uterus is an organ inside a woman's body. It has a lining inside it called the endometrium, which grows thicker in response to certain hormones that are made during menstrual periods.

When the uterine lining sheds or bleeds, the uterine muscles squeeze. For those with dysmenorrhea, the squeezing of the uterus causes pain. Those without dysmenorrhea may have menstrual bleeding with mild cramps or pain, or without any cramps or pain at all.

Who gets dysmenorrhea?

As many as 1 in 4 teens have dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is one of the most common reasons that girls and teens miss school. While the reason some experience dysmenorrhea is unknown, we do have effective ways to treat it.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Stephen Scott, MD

Stephen Scott, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

Tricia Huguelet, MD

Tricia Huguelet, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology