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8.01 Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Cramps)


Presentation

A young woman complains of crampy, labor-like pains which began before the visible bleeding of her menstrual period. The pain is focused in the lower abdomen, low back, suprapubic area or thighs, and may be associated with nausea, vomiting, increased defecation, headache, muscular cramps, and passage of clots. The pain is most severe on the first day of the menses, and may last from several hours to several days. Often, this is a recurrent problem, dating back to the first year after menarche. Rectal, vaginal and pelvic examination disclose nothing abnormal.

What to do:

What not to do:

Discussion

Prostaglandins E and F in menstrual blood appear to stimulate uterine hyperactivity, and thus many of the symptoms of dysmenorrhea.

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from Buttaravoli & Stair: COMMON SIMPLE EMERGENCIES
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