Dysmenorrhea: Unlocking the Secrets of Chronic Menstrual Pain

Author: Georgine M. Lamvu

Painful menstruation, or dysmenorrhea, is the most common gynecological pain condition, affecting 45% to 95% of menstruating women. In spite of its prevalence, it is often ignored and poorly treated because many healthcare providers and patients may consider pain a normal part of the menstrual cycle. This lecture will define the impact of this pain condition, our current knowledge about evaluation and management, and the potential long-term consequences of recurrent menstrual pain on quality of life, mood, and pain sensitivity as well as the risk of developing more chronic patterns of pain. The lecture will specifically emphasize recognition of chronic pain comorbidities associated with dysmenorrhea and development of treatment strategies that focus on the biopsychosocial model of pain management. At the end of the lecture, attendees should be able to: 1) classify disorders associated with menstrual pain; 2) describe the basic biology of the menstrual cycle; 3) learn neurobiologic changes that can occur in menstruating women with pain; and 4) formulate treatment plans based on specific patient characteristics. This lecture will be interactive using case scenarios, survey questions, and audience participation. (Recorded at PAINWeek 2016)

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