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Menstrual cramps Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Menstrual cramps. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the menstrual cramps?

    Why: If you have menstrual cramps with your periods within 2-3 years of the onset of your menstrual periods (menarche) it is called primary dysmenorrhea. If the menstrual cramps started later in life it is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Determining whether or not the dysmenorrhea is primary or secondary will assist in determining the possible cause and also the course of the painful periods. Primary dysmenorrhea may be due to uterine hypoplasia, congenital malformations, ovarian dysfunction or psychogenic causes. Secondary dysmenorrhea may be due to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, adenomyosis, intra-uterine contraceptive device, submucous fibroid, intrauterine polyp or pelvic adhesions.

  2. What was your age when the menstrual cramps started?

    Why: Primary dysmenorrhea usually starts from age 15 to age 25, decreases with age and often ceases after childbirth. Secondary dysmenorrhea is unusual before age 25 and uncommon before the age of 30.

  3. When do the menstrual cramps start and stop in relation to the period?

    Why: e.g. Menstrual cramps with primary dysmenorrhea may commence up to 12 hours before the periods appear, is maximal at the beginning of the period and usually lasts 24 hours but may persist for 2 or 3 days. Menstrual cramps with secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins 3 to 4 days before the period starts and becomes more severe during the period.

  4. Have you got an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) in the uterus?

    Why: a disadvantage with this method of contraception is that it may increase menstrual cramps and may also increase heaviness of periods ( especially in the first 4 months after insertion).

  5. Past surgical history?

    Why: e.g. previous abdominal or pelvic surgery increases the risk of pelvic adhesions which may be the cause of secondary dysmenorrhea as well as pelvic pain, infertility and intestinal pain; previous termination of pregnancy, dilatation and curettage for miscarriage, insertion of IUCD may introduce bacteria to upper genital tract and increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease which may cause secondary dysmenorrhea.

  6. Medications?

    Why: e.g. if have ceased the combined oral contraceptive pill you may notice an increased menstrual cramps with periods because the contraceptive pill has the advantage of reducing menstrual cramps and is it often used for this.

  7. Sexual history?

    Why: especially if involved in unsafe sex without condoms when not in a monogamous relationship which will increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pelvic inflammatory disease and may be the cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.

  8. Alcohol history?

    Why: alcohol abuse may increase the risk of dysmenorrhea.

  9. Family history?

    Why: e.g. endometriosis.

  10. Vaginal discharge?

    Why: may suggest pelvic inflammatory disease (may be an offensive, pus-like vaginal discharge).

  11. Infertility?

    Why: may suggest endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or pelvic adhesions.

  12. Dyspareunia (pain with intercourse)?

    Why: may suggest endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease.

  13. Menorrhagia (heavy periods)?

    Why: may suggest endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, intra-uterine contraceptive device, fibroids.

  14. Fever?

    Why: may suggest acute pelvic inflammatory disease.

  15. Irregular periods?

    Why: may suggest pelvic inflammatory disease ( usually bleeding between the periods) or a polyp inside the uterus.

  16. Symptoms of endometriosis?

    Why: e.g. dysmenorrhea which may start 1-2 weeks before the period and then reduces with the onset of the period, pain with intercourse, infertility or subfertility, heavy periods and non-specific pelvic pain.

  17. Symptoms of malignant ovarian tumor?

    Why: e.g. ache or discomfort in lower abdomen or pelvis, sensation of pelvic heaviness, menstrual dysfunction, pain with intercourse and 10-20% of people with a malignant ovarian tumor may have pain with menstruation.

  18. Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease?

    Why: e.g. fever (if acute infection) , mild to severe lower abdominal pain, pain with intercourse, painful heavy or irregular periods, bleeding in-between the periods, abnormal and perhaps offensive pus-like vaginal discharge, painful or frequent urination.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Menstrual cramps:

The following list of conditions have 'Menstrual cramps' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Menstrual cramps or choose View All.

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