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Keywords:

  • dysmenorrhea;
  • menstrual pain;
  • menstruation;
  • menstrual cycle;
  • pelvic pain;
  • primary dysmenorrhea;
  • secondary dysmenorrhea;
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);
  • cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors;
  • complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

Many women are familiar with the experience of dysmenorrhea, which can contribute to significant physical and emotional distress and life disruption. However, women may not seek professional expertise in their attempt to alleviate this condition. It is important to assess the beliefs and experiences of all women with dysmenorrhea, including adolescents, as early in gynecologic care as possible. This article reviews the management of primary dysmenorrhea. Midwives can provide valuable assistance to women in their explorations of the variety of treatment options available for the relief of dysmenorrhea, including lifestyle changes, complementary and alternative approaches, analgesics, and hormones.