The key difference between dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea is that dysmenorrhea is a condition that causes painful menstruation, while amenorrhea is a condition characterized by the absence of menstruation.
Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of the uterus. In menstruation, the blood and tissue from inside the uterus flow from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina. A typical menstrual cycle lasts between 24 and 38 days. Dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea are two medical conditions arising due to problems in the menstruation process.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Dysmenorrhea
3. What is Amenorrhea
4. Similarities – Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea
5. Dysmenorrhea vs. Amenorrhea in Tabular Form
6. FAQ – Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea
7. Summary – Dysmenorrhea vs. Amenorrhea
What is Dysmenorrhea?
Dysmenorrhea is also known as menstrual cramps. This condition normally results in painful menstrual periods. Abnormal contractions of the uterus can cause dysmenorrhea due to a chemical imbalance in the body, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine fibroids, abnormal pregnancy, infection, tumors, or polyps in the pelvic cavity. The symptoms of dysmenorrhea may include aching, throbbing pain in the abdomen, pressure in the abdomen, pain in the hips, lower back, and inner thighs, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Women who may be at an increased risk for this condition include those who smoke, drink alcohol during their periods, are overweight, started menstruation before the age of 11, and have never been pregnant.
Dysmenorrhea can be diagnosed through physical and pelvic examination, ultrasound, MRI, laparoscopy, and hysteroscopy. Furthermore, treatment options for dysmenorrhea may include prostaglandin inhibitors, acetaminophen, oral contraceptives, progesterone, diet changes, vitamin supplements, regular exercise, heating pad across the abdomen, taking hot baths, abdominal massage, endometrial ablation, endometrial resection, and hysterectomy.
What is Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is often defined as missing one or more menstrual periods. Amenorrhea can be caused by hormone level problems, anatomical problems, pregnancy, breastfeeding, certain medications (antipsychotics, cancer chemotherapy medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and allergy medications), low body weight, excessive exercise, or stress. The signs and symptoms of amenorrhea may include milky nipple discharge, hair loss, headaches, vision changes, excess facial hair, pelvic pain, and acne. The risk factors associated with this condition are family history, eating disorders, athletic training, and history of certain gynecologic procedures (loop electro-diathermy excision procedure (LEEP).
Amenorrhea can be diagnosed through a pelvic examination, pregnancy test, thyroid function test, ovary function test, prolactin test, male hormone test, hormone challenge test, imaging tests (ultrasound and MRI), and scope tests. Furthermore, treatment options for amenorrhea may include following a diet and exercise that helps maintain the weight, stress management techniques, changing exercise levels, hormonal medications, surgery, estrogen therapy, calcium and vitamin D supplements, and strength training.
What are the Similarities Between Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea?
- Dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea are two medical conditions due to problems in the menstruation process.
- Both affect only women.
- Both conditions are divided into two subtypes, primary and secondary, based on causes.
- They can be diagnosed through pelvic examination and imaging testing.
- They can be treated through specific medications and therapies.
What is the Difference Between Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea?
Dysmenorrhea is a condition that results in painful menstruation, while amenorrhea is a condition that results in the absence of menstruation. Thus, this is the key difference between dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea. Furthermore, dysmenorrhea can be caused by abnormal contractions of the uterus due to a chemical imbalance in the body, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine fibroids, abnormal pregnancy, infection, tumors, or polyps in the pelvic cavity. On the other hand, amenorrhea can be caused by hormone level problems, anatomical problems, pregnancy, breastfeeding, certain medications, low body weight, excessive exercise, or stress.
The infographic below presents the differences between dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
FAQ: Dysmenorrhea and Amenorrhea
What causes amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea?
Being either overweight or underweight increases both conditions. They can also be due to different medical conditions.
Is amenorrhea painful?
Pelvic pain can happen if the amenorrhea is due to an anatomical problem.
What happens if a girl has amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. In this condition, a girl may experience infertility, problems in pregnancy, pelvic pain, psychological stress, Osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Summary – Dysmenorrhea vs. Amenorrhea
Menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that is a regular part of a woman’s monthly cycle. There are different menstrual disorders that affect normal menstruation, such as dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, and oligomenorrhea. Therefore, dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea are two medical conditions that occur due to problems in the menstruation process. Dysmenorrhea causes painful menstruation, while amenorrhea causes the absence of menstruation. So, this summarizes the difference between dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea.
1. “Woman Suffering from a Stomach Pain” (CC0) via Pexels