Menstrual disorders are health problems that affect women’s menstrual cycles. They are among the most common reasons women visit their gynecologists. These disorders manifest in many physical and psychological symptoms and interfere with daily life. Sometimes, they can lead to fertility issues. This article will explore five of the most common menstrual disorders women may have.
HEAVY MENSTRUAL BLEEDING
Heavy menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, is a condition in which menstruation is heavy or prolonged. Heavy bleeding can make daily life more challenging. Causes include hormonal imbalance, uterine fibroids, and polyps. If you think you have heavy menstrual bleeding, check to see if you have any of these symptoms:
- Normal activity is challenging during periods
- Bad cramping in your lower abdomen
- You need to change your sanitary pad every hour multiple times
- You need to wake up in the night to change your sanitary pad
- Bleeding for longer than a week
- Passing blood clots
- Symptoms of anemia, such as shortness of breath and fatigue
Your doctor will run some tests and examine your overall health condition. Medications or procedures may be needed to control menstrual bleeding.
Painful menstruation, also called dysmenorrhea, occurs when you have pain before or during your period. Pain severity can vary from woman to woman. It can be primary, meaning no medical problem is causing it, or secondary, meaning there’s a health condition that’s causing it, like endometriosis, inflammation in the pelvis (pelvic inflammatory disease), abnormal pregnancy, or other problems. Signs you have dysmenorrhea include:
- Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen
- Feeling pressure in the abdomen
- Low back pain
- Pain spreading to the hips, inner thighs, and legs
- Nausea and vomiting
Home treatments can be effective in relieving pain. You can apply a heating pad to your abdomen, take a warm bath, and try anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. If the pain is affecting your daily life, or if it’s unusual, contact your doctor to check for possible health conditions that could be causing it.
Premenstrual syndrome, or simply PMS, is a condition that affects about 3 out of every 4 menstruating women. It causes several physical and emotional symptoms that tend to be predictable. These symptoms can be minor or severe. PMS symptoms can be challenging especially during stressful times. Signs and symptoms of PMS include:
- Depressed mood
- Food cravings
- Breast tenderness
- Acne flare-ups
- Joint or muscle pain
There are many things you can try to alleviate the symptoms of PMS. Exercise along with healthy eating habits can improve the symptoms significantly. Limiting stress and getting enough sleep are also important. Additionally, you can use over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.
PREMENSTRUAL DYSPHORIC DISORDER
PMDD, short for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, is an extension of PMS but is more severe. In other words, the symptoms of PMDD are similar to the symptoms of PMS, but they affect life substantially and usually require medical attention and treatment. 3-8% of women suffer from PMDD. Symptoms of PMDD include:
- Crying spells
- Trouble sleeping
- Depressed mood
- Breast pain
You need to see your doctor if your symptoms are preventing you from living your normal life and enjoying your favorite activities before or during periods.
The menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Normal menstrual cycles are 28 days long on average, but they can range from 21 to 35 days. Having irregular periods can be concerning for women, but it doesn’t always mean something’s wrong. The length of your menstrual cycle is controlled by hormones. However, many factors and conditions can alter it, including:
- Using some types of hormonal contraception
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
The abovementioned causes are the most common, there are other possible causes.
Absent menstruation, or amenorrhea, has two types. The first one is defined as never having a period by the age of 15, this is called primary amenorrhea. The other type is defined as missing one period or more in a previously menstruating woman, which is called secondary amenorrhea. The main causes of primary amenorrhea are hormonal or anatomical. Causes of secondary amenorrhea include:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive exercise
- Strict diets
Treatments of absent periods depend on the cause. Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam, and run some tests before diagnosing your problem.
DID YOU KNOW?
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