New Guidance Addresses Early Dx of Dysmenorrhea in Adolescents

Endometriosis is most common cause of secondary dysmenorrhea, looks different in teens than adults

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Early diagnosis of dysmenorrhea is key to ensuring that adolescents and women can maintain their quality of life, according to a Committee Opinion published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Adolescent Health Care released a Committee Opinion to aid providers in diagnosing dysmenorrhea and its causes as early as possible so patients can successfully manage symptoms.

Most adolescents experiencing dysmenorrhea have primary dysmenorrhea. When there is no clinical improvement within three to six months of therapy initiation, the treating obstetrician-gynecologist should investigate for possible secondary causes, including pelvic pathology or a medical condition. Endometriosis is the leading cause of secondary dysmenorrhea in adolescents but may present differently than in adult women. In adolescents, endometriosis is considered a chronic disease with potential for progression if left untreated. Therapy should be individualized, and goals should include symptom relief, suppression of disease progression, and protection of future fertility.

"No matter the cause of dysmenorrhea, it has a profound effect on our patients' lives, especially adolescent patients," Committee Opinion author Geri Hewitt, M.D., said in a statement. "By quickly identifying and diagnosing dysmenorrhea, ob-gyns can help relieve patients' pain and enable them to resume normal order in their lives."

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