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Dysmenorrhea Causes & Risks


Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by high levels of prostaglandins in the uterus. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances normally found throughout the body.

Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by:

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Risk factors for primary dysmenorrhea include:

  • Ovulatory menstrual cycles ( a normal physiologic condition)
  • Age: less than 20 years old
  • Early onset of menstruation (less than 12 years old)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Attempts to lose weight (in women 14-20 years old)
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Nulliparity (never having delivered a baby)
  • Smoking

The presence of a known cause of secondary dysmenorrhea (see “Causes”) is a risk factor for developing the condition.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2021 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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