Dysmenorrhea / Amenorrhea



Medicinal Plants Used for Treatment
Primary and Secondary Dysmenorrhea Standard Treatments
Primary and Secondary Amenorrhea Pictures

By: Cherie Cadena, Meredith Carothers, and Abdullah Orozco


Dysmenorrhea is "by far the most common gynecologic problem for menstruating women." (Coco, Andrew).  Many women experience painful cramping in the lower abdomen, headaches, vomiting, and other uncomfortable symptoms during their menstrual periods.  Often, these symptoms are so painful women may miss work or school.  

Amenorrhea is the absence of or abnormal cessation of menses.  Amenorrhea can be classified as either primary or secondary.  Primary amenorrhea usually occurs between ages 11 and 15 years.  Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a menopausal woman has not had menses for three consecutive months.


Primary and Secondary Dysmenorrhea:
  Primary Dysmenorrhea Secondary Dysmenorrhea
Definition: Painful cramps in the lower abdomen during menstruation in the absence of any other pelvic disease. Painful cramps in the lower abdomen during menstruation due to an actual pelvic disease such as endometriosis (where uterine tissue grows into other parts of the pelvic cavity).
Age of onset: Adolescence or within 3 years of first menstruation Older women and women having cramps after the age of 25
Causes: Higher than normal levels of the hormone prostaglandin  Other pelvic diseases such as polyps, pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, or use of an IUD
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, headaches, backaches, diarrhea, and severe cramps Same as for primary dysmenhorrea

Primary and Secondary Amenorrhea:

  Primary Amenorrhea Secondary Amenorrhea
Definition: The lack of menstruation or breast development by the age of 14 or the lack of menstruation by the age of 16. The absence of menstruation spanning three months after regular periods have occurred.
Age of onset: Early adolescence Post-adolescence
Causes: Hypothalamic-pituitary causes, pregnancy, stress, strict diets, anorexia, excessive exercise, and pseudohermaphroditism (patient has testes in the abdomen and breasts but no uterus) Hypothalamic-pituitary causes, pregnancy, stress, strict diets, anorexia, excessive exercise, excessive male hormone, uterine infection, ovarian failure, and menopause.
Symptoms: no menstruation no menstruation

Medicinal Plants Used for Treatment:

Common Name Latin Name Organ Used Chemicals and effectivity
Angelica Angelica sinensis root Diuretic, cholagogue, anti-inflammatory
Damiana Turnera difusa leaves, stems Tannins, alkaloids, flavanoids. 
False Unicorn Chamalerium luteum root  
Parsley Petroselinum crispum leaves calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C.
Peppermint Mentha piperita all organs calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamins. A,C, zinc
Red Clover Trifolium pratense all organs calcium, chromium, magnesium, thiamine, vitamins A,C, zinc
Ruda Ruta graveolens leaves  
Wild Yam Discorea villosa   cobalt, Manganese, Zn+3, thiamine, steroids (progesterone)


Standard Treatments:

In addition to medicinal plants, amenorrhea can be treated with other methods:         

I.          Achieve and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle

A.         Keep an ideal body weight

B.         Find moderation between work, recreation and rest

C.        Reduce and avoid stress

D.         Avoid drinking too much alcohol, doing drugs and smoking

II.         Estrogen replacement therapy can be used to treat women with permanent hypo-gonadism.





Red Clover


False Unicorn



Amenorrhea : When Menstruation Goes Away. Ohio Health.  1998-2003 Mayo Foundation for       Medical Education and Research

Coco, Andrew. Primary Dysmenorrhea. Aug. 1999. The American Academy of Family Physicians. 17 Jul  2004. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/489.html>

Dysmenorrhea Hub. 28 Feb. 2002. Projectlinks Database. 17 Jul 2004. <http://www.projectlinks.org/dysmenorrhea/>

Lorena, Andrea. Cramping Your Style: Dysmennorhea Defined. 2 April 2001. Rx Magazine. 17 Jul 2004. <http://rx.magazine.tripod.com/wh_20000707.htm>

Mendoza-Bruce, San Juana.  Lecture: 6/26/04.  NMSU Las Cruces, NM

McPhee, Stephen J., Papadakis, Maxine A., Tierney, Lawrence M. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2000, 39/e.  The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Relief from Menstrual Cramps. 1999. Genne X Healthcare Technologies, Inc. 17 Jul 2004. <http://www.womanshealth.org/a/treat_dysmenra.htm>

USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Last updated (July 20th, 2004)
For more information contact Dr. Mary O'Connell at mailto:%20moconnel@nmsu.edu

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