Period pain Perth

Different types of period pain and what you can do about it

Your periods shouldn’t hurt. Even though period pain is quite common and can be treated, it’s important to know the underlying cause. 

period pain Perth gynaecologist
period pain Perth gynaecologist
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In a nutshell
  • There are two types of period pain
  • Primary dysmenorrhoea is caused by high levels of natural chemicals that cause the muscles and blood vessels of your uterus to contract
  • Secondary dysmenorrhoea results from a disorder in your female reproductive organs such as endometriosis, adenomyosis or fibroids
  • Both types of period pain can be treated so it is important to get checked

Period pain Perth gynaecologist

What is period pain?

Pain associated with menstruation is called dysmenorrhoea. It’s quite common to experience some pain for 1 to 2 days each month. 

1 in 2 women experiences some mild pain for 1 or 2 days only. However, for some women, the pain is so severe that it keeps them from their normal activities for several days a month. 

Dr Mike Kamara | Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group
Dr Mike Kamara

Gynaecologist Perth

The pain can be associated with other symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, dizziness, nausea and headaches. This is abnormal and must be treated. There are two types of dysmenorrhoea: primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhoea

If you feel cramps before or during your period, we call this primary dysmenorrhoea. Natural chemicals, called prostaglandins, cause the muscles and blood vessels of the uterus to contract. Women with primary dysmenorrhoea have high levels of prostaglandins at the start of their period. As bleeding continues and the lining of the uterus is shed, the levels go down. When the levels go down after the few first days, the period pain tends to ease as well. 

Usually, primary dysmenorrhoea starts shortly after your first period. It gets often better with time and after childbirth.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea

Secondary dysmenorrhoea results from a disorder in your female reproductive organs. Contrary to primary dysmenorrhoea, the pain tends to get worse over time. It also starts earlier and lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps. Conditions that can cause cramping are:

  • Endometriosis: when the tissue that lines the uterus is found outside the uterus. It can lead to bleeding and scarring which can cause severe pain.
  • Adenomyosis: similar to endometriosis this is when the endometrial lining grows in the uterine muscle.
  • Fibroids: these are abnormal (benign) growths in the body of the uterus. When located in the wall of the uterus, they can cause pain.
period pain Perth gynaecologist

Treatment period pain Perth

Period pain diagnosis and treatment

How is period pain diagnosed?

First, we will ask you to describe your symptoms and menstrual cycle. We will ask about your medical history and previous investigations or tests.

We may also request other investigations including:

  • laboratory tests
  • ultrasounds
  • surgical interventions such as a hysteroscopy

Ultrasounds can be done at our Joondalup practice but sometimes a specialised gynaecological scan is needed. We will then refer you to see a sonologist.

Hysteroscopies can also be performed at Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group, either under local anaesthesia or in the hospital’s theatre under general anaesthesia.

Period pain treatment

Both primary and secondary menstrual cramps can be treated. Generally, we first try to treat the symptoms with some “simple” anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen. These are medications that target prostaglandins. Your pain can also be treated with hormones such as the birth control pill, vaginal ring or implants. 

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture/acupressure or nerve stimulation can also be used to manage pelvic pain as does physical therapy that targets trigger points.

Surgery on its own is never the answer.

When we have certainty about the conditions that are causing your period pain, we may discuss laparoscopic surgery. In that case, we can surgically remove the endometriosis, adenomyosis or fibroids. 

Dr Barton Smith JOGG obstetrician gynaecologist Joondalup
Dr Barton Smith

Gynaecologist Perth

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Hysteroscopy Perth

Why may I need a hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy allows us to examine the lining or internal structure of your uterus. We use a tool called a hysteroscope, which is a thin lighted tube that we insert into your vagina. 

You might need this procedure if we want to examine the cause of your period pain or heavy periods. Even though it’s usually a diagnostic procedure, it can also be therapeutic. If an abnormal condition is detected, for example, polyps, we can remove them during the same procedure.

In Western Australia, most hysteroscopies are done under a general anaesthetic but they can also be performed with local anaesthesia.

12 excellent reasons to choose Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group


Care for the whole family, organising work certificates for partners.


Providing safe care and birth options (experience as a rural GP obstetrician).


A limited number of private patients to allow us the ability to provide patients with the service they deserve. 


Make the time for patients, understand what they want/expect from their journey, available 24/7 (when on leave you will be covered during those times). 

After hours and weekend appointments to assist the whole family
Remote foetal monitoring

Blood pressure management. 


Foetal growth assessment.


Maintaining a close relationship with your GP.


In-house access to allied health services such as physiotherapy and lactation consultants.


Free online antenatal classes.


We are Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group, in short JOGG. We are a Joondalup-based private obstetrics and gynaecology practice, and cater for mums, women and families across the Perth metro area. 

Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group