Painful menstruation, also known as dysmenorrhea, is one of the most common gynecologic problems. Most women begin having dysmenorrhea during adolescence, usually within four to five years of the first menstrual period. Painful periods become less common as women age.

This topic review discusses the causes, symptoms diagnosis, and treatment of dysmenorrhea in women who do not have an underlying cause for their pain (eg, endometriosis, fibroids, bowel or bladder disease, etc). Separate topic reviews discuss the management of these problems.

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