Painful menstruation or dysmenorrhea is a common and sometimes difficult problem. Menstrual cramps can begin one or two days prior to your period and continue throughout the menstrual cycle. Some women experience headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Most women who experience dysmenorrhea do not have an underlying reproductive problem such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis or an infection.
What are menstrual cramps?
The uterus or womb is the reproductive organ that houses the fetus during pregnancy. This pair shaped organ is largely smooth muscle. After ovulation the uterus releases the chemical mediator prostaglandin, which signals the uterus to contract. If prostaglandin levels are excessive, contractions can be severe and lead to abdominal, low back and thigh pain. Prostaglandin also triggers the uterus to contract during childbirth.