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Dysmenorrhea is pain during a women’s menses (period or menstrual cycle). Dysmenorrhea can include several different kinds of pain, including sharp, cramping, throbbing, dull, nauseating, burning, or shooting pain. Dysmenorrhea may precede menstruation by several days or may accompany it, and it usually subsides as menstruation tapers off.

Pain associated with dysmenorrhea is usually experienced in the lower abdomen but some women also feel pain or discomfort in their low back and/or pelvic regions. Some women notice additional symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, bloating, and dizziness. Dysmenorrhea may also coexist with excessively heavy blood loss during a woman’s period, called menorrhagia.

Did you know? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, more than half of women experience at least some pain for one or two days during or around their period. In some women, however, period-related pain becomes so severe that even normal daily activities like work, self-care, and child care are difficult or unmanageable.

It’s not always clear why some women have intense menstrual pain while others don’t. We do know that dysmenorrhea can relate to underlying disorders of the female reproductive system, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and even Crohn’s disease. When severe menstrual pain is caused by something other than normal changes associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, we call this secondary dysmenorrhea.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Benefits Women With Painful Periods—Discover How!

If you’re struggling with debilitating or even moderate period pain,  pelvic floor physical therapy can be helpful. Our experienced Bethesda and McLean pelvic health physical therapy team offers discreet, professional, and compassionate care for women struggling with dysmenorrhea and other symptoms related to their menstrual cycle.

Services such as relaxation techniques,  manual therapy, addressing fascial restrictions in and around your uterus, and working to improve any pelvic floor dysfunction can help you find relief from your symptoms, give you tools to help you cope, and optimize your overall pelvic floor function, so you can look forward to greater comfort at every stage in your cycle. Book your session today!