Menstrual cramps are also known by its medical term as dysmenorrhea. These cramps are characterized by either dull, throbbing pains in the lower abdomen or shooting, intense pains that may last for a few minutes. Every woman’s experience with menstrual cramps is different. Menstrual cramps can range from mild, moderate to severe pain.
Some women only experience mild menstrual cramps with a slight twinge of pain while for others, the pain can be incapacitating and disrupt their lives. Often when the pain is so severe, it is quite common to find young girls or women not being able to go to school or work.
There are two types of menstrual cramps – primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea typically begins six months to a year following the beginning of menstruation and there is no underlying gynecological problem contributing to the pain. Cramps and the degree of pain tend to lessen as you become older and often disappear completely after giving birth.
Secondary dysmenorrhea involves an underlying abnormal condition such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids that causes the menstrual cramps. This condition usually develops later, after you have begun menstruating.