Menstrual Cramps aka Dysmenorrhea

Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea is defined as pain with menstruation, usually cramping centred in the lower abdomen.


50% of menstruating women are affected by dysmenorrhea, and approximately 10% of these women experience severe dysmenorrhea with incapacitation for 1-3 days per month.  It most commonly affects women from 20-24 years of age.


There is no associated organic cause for primary dysmenorrhea.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by:

  • Adenomyosis: the presence of endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) within the myometrium (the thick, muscular layer of the uterus)
  • Endometriosis
  • Leiomyomas (uterine fibroids)
  • Chronic salpingitis: infection and inflammation of the fallopian tube(s)
  • IUD use
  • Cervical stenosis


The signs and symptoms associated with menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea are:

  • Sharp, cramping, midline-lower abdominal pain with possible radiation to the lower back and upper thighs
  • Cramping usually lasts < 24 hours and seldom lasts > 2-3 days

The following accompanying symptoms may also be associated with menstrual cramps:

  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse


The diagnostic assessment tools and tests used to diagnose dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps are:

  • Gynecological examination with bimanual pelvic abdominal examination
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Hysterosalpingogram



From a Naturopathic standpoint, Dr. Moira Kwok ND will obtain a very thorough medical history in order to put all of your "puzzle pieces" together to form a whole picture of everything that is going on from a health perspective.  From this holistic approach to treatment, she will put together an individualized treatment plan based on a combination of dietary and lifestyle recommendations, supplements, botanicals, acupuncture andor IV therapy that is based on your specific case.




  • Ferri FF.  2007.  Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment.  Mosby Elsevier: Philadelphia, PA.