Menstrual cramps, or Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM) may cause abnormal changes in the brain structure, scientists have said.
These changes occur irrespective of whether PDM patients actually experience pain or not, says the study conducted by Professor Jen-Chuen Hsieh, Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
"Although the functional consequences remain to be established, these results indicate that the adolescent brain is vulnerable to menstrual pain," said Hsieh.
Researchers found significant GM (gray matter) volume changes in the patients' anatomical maps.
Abnormal decreases were found in regions involved in pain transmission, higher level sensory processing, and affect regulation while increases were found in regions involved in pain modulation and in regulation of endocrine function.
The study is scheduled for publication in the September issue of AIN.