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Primary dysmenorrhea in adolescents

Author
Chantay Banikarim, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Mitchell E Geffner, MD
Diane Blake, MD
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD

INTRODUCTION

Primary dysmenorrhea refers to recurrent, crampy lower abdominal pain that occurs during menstruation in the absence of pelvic pathology. It is the most common gynecologic complaint among adolescent females. Management is directed toward excluding pelvic pathology (secondary dysmenorrhea) and selecting medication appropriate to the patient's individual characteristics and symptom severity.

The diagnosis and treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adolescents will be discussed in this topic review. Evaluation and treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women is reviewed separately. (See "Primary dysmenorrhea in adult women: Clinical features and diagnosis" and "Treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women".)

DEFINITIONS

For clinical purposes, dysmenorrhea is divided into two broad categories:

Primary dysmenorrhea refers to the presence of recurrent, crampy, lower abdominal pain that occurs during menses in the absence of demonstrable disease that could account for these symptoms.

Secondary dysmenorrhea has the same clinical features but occurs in women with a disorder that could account for their symptoms, such as endometriosis (table 2B). Secondary dysmenorrhea is more common among women in the fourth and fifth decades of life, but occasionally occurs in adolescents.

                
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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 28, 2017.
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References
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