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Primary Dysmenorrhea: Assessment and Management Update


  • Dawn Durain CNM, MPH

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    • 1Dawn Durain, CNM, MPH, is a Lecturer/Clinical Specialist in the Nurse-Midwifery Program of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

University of Pennsylvania Nurse-Midwifery Program, Nursing Education Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:


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.