What are the differences between primary and secondary dysmenorrhea?

Updated: Sep 23, 2019
  • Author: Karim Anton Calis, PharmD, MPH, FASHP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as menstrual pain that is not associated with macroscopic pelvic pathology (ie, occurs in the absence of pelvic disease). It typically occurs in the first few years after menarche [6] and affects as many as 50% of postpubertal females. [7] Secondary dysmenorrhea is defined as menstrual pain resulting from anatomic or macroscopic pelvic pathology, [6, 8] as is seen in women with endometriosis or chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. It is most often observed in women aged 30-45 years.

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