By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The word is dysmenorrhea and, like many medical words, it can be difficult to define or understand at first glance. But, for millions of women, dysmenorrhea is a real problem with symptoms of painful cramps with menstruation. It is the most common gynecologic problem in women of all ages and races. The symptoms usually begin in the teen years – beginning about six months after the first period – and it peaks in the mid-twenties.

There is a condition called secondary dysmenorrhea which is the way physicians describe another condition causing painful periods. This often leads to tests and a workup.

The most important point is that you should not hesitate to call your physician if you have any concerns.

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