The medical term for painful periods is dysmenorrhoea. You may describe it as pain, discomfort or cramps around the time of menstruation.
There are 2 types of dysmenorrhoea: primary and secondary.
This generally occurs soon after a woman starts her periods. It is very common, and may occur in as many as 50% of adolescents. Most of the time your symptoms will start in the heavy part of menstruation, and last for a few days only.
It is caused by prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins stimulate uterine contractions.
Hormonal contraception is often an effective treatment.
This is when there is an underlying cause for the painful periods.
Common causes are endometriosis and adenomyosis.
If you are experiencing pain with periods we recommend review by an experienced practitioner in this area. It may be a trial of hormonal therapy is a reasonable first step before more intensive options are considered such as laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.