Dysmenorrhoea (dys = pain, menorrhea = bleeding) is the medical term for painful periods.
Many women experience period pains or cramps on the first couple of days into the period. This is often called primary or spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, and is not usually linked to any problem with the womb (uterus). There may also be general discomfort associated with other premenstrual symptoms e.g. swollen breasts, abdomen, genitals, wrists and ankles. If the pain is worst before or after the heaviest days of the period, we often describe this as secondary dysmenorrhoea.