dys·​men·​or·​rhea (ˌ)dis-ˌme-nə-ˈrē-ə How to pronounce dysmenorrhea (audio)
: painful menstruation
dysmenorrheic adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Painful uterine contractions that are associated with your period are medically referred to as dysmenorrhea. Dallas News, 31 Oct. 2022 The abstract, presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of NAMS, explored the connection between diet and dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful periods. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 12 Oct. 2022 The draft law puts the spotlight on dysmenorrhea, the severe pain that women can suffer during menstruation and that can leave them too debilitated to work. New York Times, 17 May 2022 Around a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe period pain known as dysmenorrhea, according to the Spanish Gynecology and Obstetrics Society. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 12 May 2022 Primary dysmenorrhea, the cramping pain that comes before and during a period, is caused by a change in natural chemicals in your body, per ACOG. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, 19 Jan. 2022 For many adolescents — and adults — with dysmenorrhea, the cornerstone of successful treatment is hormones. Perri Klass, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2020 Cramps caused by anything other than menstruation are called secondary dysmenorrhea. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, 25 June 2019 Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by uterine fibroids, cysts, or polyps. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, 25 June 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dysmenorrhea.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, from dys- dys- + menorrhea, menorrhoea "menstrual flow," from meno- meno- + -rrhea, rrhoea -rrhea

First Known Use

circa 1810, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dysmenorrhea was circa 1810

Dictionary Entries Near dysmenorrhea

Cite this Entry

“Dysmenorrhea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysmenorrhea. Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British dysmenorrhoea
: painful menstruation see spasmodic dysmenorrhea
dysmenorrheic adjective
or chiefly British dysmenorrhoeic

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