An overview of common gynaecological conditions
Click below to learn more about each gynaecological condition.
Menstrual cramps are felt as painful muscle cramps in the abdomen, although the pain can spread to the lower back and upper thighs. The pain can vary from intense spasms to a dull constant ache. It can be so severe that you may have to take time off work or school.
The majority of women who menstruate will experience some pain during their period.
These contractions enable the womb lining to shed as part of your monthly period. Each contraction compresses the blood vessels that line your womb, temporarily cutting off the blood supply.
By cutting the blood supply, the amount of oxygen that reaches your womb is reduced. This lack of oxygen in the womb causes it release some chemicals that can trigger pain. This pain then causes the womb muscles to contract more, which increases the level of pain.
Pain that is caused during a normal menstrual cycle is sometimes called primary dysmenorrhea. In some circumstances, intense period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as:
Menstrual pain from an underlying medical condition is sometimes called secondary dysmenorrhea and it can signify a problem with the reproductive organs. If period pain is caused by a medical condition then this may affect your fertility. You should seek medical advice from a doctor if you are concerned about your fertility and are trying to become pregnant.
In some circumstances, dysmenorrhea can also be caused by contraceptive devices, such as the intrauterine device (IUD). This contraceptive device fits inside the womb and is made from copper and plastic.
You doctor will look at your medical history and perform a pelvic examination. This is to rule out other causes of your pelvic pain, such as an infection. They may refer you to a specialist, such as a gynaecologist, for further tests. These include:
Urine or blood test: These are to test for hormone levels or an infection.
Ultrasound scan: A transvaginal ultrasound scan can help identify any abnormalities with your reproductive organs.
Laparoscopy: This is a surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to look inside your body using an instrument called a laparoscope.
Any treatment options will depend on whether your pain is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.
A hormonal contraceptive may be prescribed. This can be in the form of a pill (commonly called the birth control pill or contraceptive pill), an implant, injection or skin patch. These hormones prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.
If your dysmenorrhea is caused by a medical disorder, such as endometriosis, then surgery may be an option. The treatment options will depend on the medical condition that has been diagnosed.
In very rare circumstances a hysterectomy may be an option if the pain is severe. This is a surgical procedure to remove the womb. It is only offered to women who no longer want to have children.
They will be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and talk with you about the best treatment options for your specific situation.
An appointment with an experienced Consultant at your nearest BMI hospital can be helpful. They will assess and diagnose the cause of your symptoms and then discuss any suitable treatment options for your specific situation. To schedule your visit, book a specialist appointment online today.
We partnered with pioneering research charity Wellbeing of Women to produce our Women's Health Matters 2021 report. Wellbeing of Women help improve pregnancy care, IVF outcomes and the risk of childbirth complications for women through their ground-breaking research.
Women's Health Matters 2021 provides a comprehensive analysis of ten of the most common gynaecological conditions misdiagnosed or misunderstood for years at a time. Infertility, debilitating chronic pain, the onset of associated conditions and severe depression are common effects of living with a gynaecological condition without access to the right care. Yet despite this, education and awareness around women’s health is lacking.
Millions of women in the UK continue to suffer in silence while waiting for a diagnosis, unsure of how best to manage their pain or seek help.
The aim of this Women's Health Matters is to tackle taboos in women's health by sharing the hard-hitting stories of other women living with these conditions, as well as: