A self-checklist to know if you have dysmenorrhea! Explanation of latent diseases and symptoms

Have you ever heard the word dysmenorrhea? Menstrual pain is not recognized as a disease even if you suffer from symptoms such as severe menstrual pain or heavy menstrual flow. Therefore, many people endure it while taking painkillers, but in fact, there is a possibility that a disease that leads to future infertility is hidden if it is not treated. Here, we introduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhea, a checklist, and the risks of diseases hidden in dysmenorrhea. If you want to find out the cause of the pain you endure every month, or if you want to know about treatments other than painkillers, please read to the end. Also, consider seeking medical attention.

Find out in this article
  • Symptoms and causes of dysmenorrhea
  • Could it be dysmenorrhea? Checklist for when
  • What to do to improve dysmenorrhea

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What is dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea refers to various symptoms that occur immediately before or after menstruation and interfere with daily life. Symptoms disappear with the end of menstruation. Everyone feels mild menstrual pain, but dysmenorrhoea is a severe condition that interferes with daily life and is subject to treatment. Dysmenorrhoea when the causative disease is not clear is called "functional dysmenorrhea", and when there is a causative disease, it is called "organic dysmenorrhea".

Dysmenorrhea self-checklist

If you feel that you may be suffering from dysmenorrhoea, first try a simple self-check. Please check your own menstrual condition as we will excerpt part of the self-check.

  • Pain so bad that painkillers don't work
  • Headache and nausea in addition to menstrual cramps
  • Feeling heavy bleeding during menstruation
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Irritable before menstruation
  • Painful bowel movements or painful intercourse
If many of these apply to you, you may have dysmenorrhea. It is a good idea to visit a women's clinic or a gynecologist instead of putting up with painful symptoms.

Causes of dysmenorrhea

The causes of functional dysmenorrhea and organic dysmenorrhea are different. Functional dysmenorrhea is mainly caused by excessive contraction of the uterine muscle by prostaglandins produced by the endometrium. In the case of young women, it has been pointed out that psychological factors such as anxiety and tension about menstruation are involved1). Another thing that makes menstrual cramps worse is that the cervix that drains menstrual blood is too narrow. Organic dysmenorrhea is caused by gynecological diseases, such as those of the uterus or ovaries. Specific examples include endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine malformation 1).

Dysmenorrhea at risk of disease

There may be some people who are living while enduring only menstrual pain. However, dysmenorrhea may be caused by gynecological diseases such as the uterus and ovaries. Here, let's check the risk of diseases hidden in dysmenorrhea.


Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrium or similar tissue develops and grows outside the normal lining of the uterus. Due to the influence of female hormones, it proliferates according to the menstrual cycle, but because it is located outside the uterus, it is not excreted during menstruation and remains. It then forms adhesions with the surrounding tissue, causing pain. Endometriosis is also said to be a cause of infertility. In addition to menstruation, endometriosis may cause various pains such as low back pain, pain in the lower abdomen, pain in defecation, and pain during sexual intercourse.

Uterine fibroid

Uterine fibroids are a type of tumor. Although it is not a malignant tumor, symptoms such as anemia, pain, and excessive menstrual flow occur. It is not a rare tumor, but a disease seen in 20 to 30% of women in their 30s, including small tumors. It is important to note that depending on where the tumor is formed, symptoms may not appear until the tumor has grown. In the case of uterine fibroids, symptoms other than menstrual bleeding (irregular bleeding), low back pain, and frequent urination may occur. It is also thought to cause infertility and habitual miscarriage.

Adenomyosis of the uterus

The uterus is a flexible organ made up of two tissues: uterine smooth muscle and the endometrium. Adenomyosis is when endometriosis occurs in the muscles of the uterus rather than inside the uterus. It is progressed and exacerbated by estrogen, a type of female hormone, so it progresses little by little with each menstruation. It is a disease that often accompanies uterine fibroids and thickening of the uterine lining. The main symptoms include strong menstrual pain, excessive menstrual blood, irregular bleeding, abdominal pain and back pain other than during menstruation.

How to improve dysmenorrhea

There are two types of dysmenorrhea: organic dysmenorrhea, which is caused by some cause hidden in the uterus, and functional dysmenorrhea, which is caused by causes unrelated to the uterus. In order to improve dysmenorrhea, it is most important to find out the cause of pain. I will also show you what you can do in your daily life.

see a gynecologist

If pain interferes with your daily life or if painkillers don't work, see a gynecologist. In the gynecology department, diagnosis is made by interview, pelvic examination and transvaginal ultrasonography 2). If organic dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis or uterine fibroids is suspected, diagnostic imaging such as CT or MRI, examination for infectious diseases including chlamydia, measurement of CA125, a marker for endometriosis, etc. 2). Treatment for dysmenorrhea is performed by combining painkillers, Chinese medicine, pills, etc. after confirming that there are no abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries.

Adjust your lifestyle to reduce stress

Here are some things you can do on a daily basis to alleviate the painful symptoms of dysmenorrhea. Stress can lead to various illnesses. It's important to get enough sleep to de-stress and make time to relax. Moderate exercise such as walking and yoga not only relieves stress, but also improves blood flow in the pelvis, leading to pain relief. In addition, try to keep your body cool and have a well-balanced meal. Measuring and recording your basal body temperature is also useful for understanding your menstrual cycle and changes in your physical condition.

Also read the following articles → Drugs used to treat dysmenorrhea


Many women endure the pain, nausea, and headaches that occur during menstruation, saying, "We all struggle with pain in the same way." However, it is possible that what you thought was just menstrual pain was actually a sign of a disease such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. First, take a look at our dysmenorrhea checklist. If there are many items that apply to you, or if you have symptoms other than menstrual pain, we recommend that you visit a gynecologist for an examination.

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1) Natsuko Motooka et al., ``Nursing care for menstrual pain'', Human Nursing Research, 12: 77-82, 2014

2) Yoko Sagara, “Psychosomatic response to menstrual symptoms”, Jpn J Psychosom Med, Vol.49, No.11, 2009