Medication should lessen or eliminate pain by the end of three menstrual cycles. If it does not work, then a re-evaluation is necessary.
NSAIDs taken one to two days before a period begins should eliminate cramps for some women.
Adenomyosis—Uterine thickening caused when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, extends outward into the fibrous and muscular tissue of the uterus.
Endometriosis—A condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and frequently, infertility.
Hormone—A chemical messenger secreted by a gland or organ and released into the bloodstream. It travels via the bloodstream to distant cells where it exerts an effect.
Ovary—One of the two almond-shaped glands in the female reproductive system responsible for producing eggs and the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Ovulation—The monthly process by which an ovarian follicle ruptures releasing a mature egg cell.
Progesterone—The hormone produced by the ovary after ovulation that prepares the uterine lining for a fertilized egg.
Uterus—The female reproductive organ that contains and nourishes a fetus from implantation until birth. Also called the womb.
Carlson, K. J., et al. The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.
National Women's Health Network. 514 10th St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004. Web site: <www.womenshealthnetwork.org>.
Clark, Alan D. "Dysmenorrhea." eMedicine, October 12, 2004. Available online at <http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic156.htm> (accessed December 21, 2004).
Linda K. Bennington
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