Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination, including a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor will check for any abnormalities in your reproductive organs and look for signs of infection.
In some cases, if your doctor suspects that your menstrual cramps are being caused by an underlying disorder, he or she may order one or more of the following tests:
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- Ultrasound. This painless test uses sound waves to visualize internal organs. It is often used to check for abnormalities in the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes.
- Computerized tomography (CT). A CT scan combines X-ray images taken from many angles to produce cross-sectional images of bones, organs and other soft tissues inside your body. This painless procedure can provide more detail than can regular X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRIs use radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of internal structures. This painless procedure may be used to check for tumors or signs of endometriosis.
- Hysteroscopy. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube through your vagina and cervix into your uterus. The hysteroscope works like a tiny telescope, allowing your doctor to look through it to check for such things as fibroids or polyps.
- Laparoscopy. In this outpatient surgical procedure, your doctor views your abdominal cavity by making tiny incisions in your abdomen and inserting a fiber-optic tube with a small camera lens. Laparoscopy can check for certain conditions, such as endometriosis, adhesions, fibroids, ovarian cysts and ectopic pregnancy.
- Morrow C, et al. Dysmenorrhea. Primary Care Clinics in Office Practice. 2009;36:19.
- Danakas GT. Dysmenorrhea. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Smith RP, et al. Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Dysmenorrhea. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp046.cfm. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Smith RP, et al. Treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Rainone F. Dysmenorrhea. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2011.