What are the Most Common Menstrual Problems?
If you’re one of the lucky few, your periods cause little inconvenience and are a textbook example of a 28-day cycle. For many women, however, “that time of the month” doesn’t always go like clockwork.
Cycle irregularities and period-related difficulties are not uncommon. In fact, very likely you’ll experience uncomfortable symptoms either before or during your menstruation at some point in your life.
Menstrual disorders refer to physical and/or emotional symptoms that are connected with your period and cause problems for you. Although the name suggests a medical condition, you shouldn’t feel too concerned.
Most menstrual problems can be managed well. Also, with time, you will learn how to deal with them better. However, if problems persist and interfere with your life, it is important that you see a health professional.
Most Common Menstrual Problems
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia): This means that the blood flow is so strong that in order to manage it, you have to put your daily life on hold. For example, you need to change your tampon or pad every hour. Not fun at all! The blood loss can be 10 to 25 times greater than usual. There are different causes of heavy menstrual bleeding, including hormonal imbalances. It might be good to establish the reason for heavy bleeding to make sure it doesn’t relate to any medical condition, such as thyroid problems, fibroids or blood clotting disorders.
- No menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea): The other extreme is to not bleed at all. If you suddenly don’t get your menstruation for three months or longer, you should see a health professional. Some of the common causes of amenorrhea may include changes in hormone levels (usually, there is a problem with estrogen level), stress, weight loss, exercise, and illness. Girls who don’t start their period by age 16 are also considered to have amenorrhea.
- Irregular periods: Some women have periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart. When it comes to frequency, it’s important to know what your “normal” is. Track your cycle so you get familiar with your patterns.
- Bleeding between periods: This is a common disorder and can be linked to various causes, for instance, the use of hormonal contraceptives. Light bleeding is referred to as “spotting”. Heavier bleeding, however, should be examined by a health professional.
- Painful menstrual periods: Uterine contractions can cause menstrual cramps. Many women have cramps during their period and this is a part of their normal cycle. For some, however, the pain can be so severe that it prevents normal functioning. Cramps can also lead to diarrhoea and feelings of light-headedness.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): This is probably the most famous (and also the most disputed) menstrual disorder. Almost half of all women report the symptoms of the infamous PMS that usually occur 5 to 7 days before the period starts. The symptoms can include both physical and emotional disturbances, for example, mood swings, headache, depression, crying, and food cravings. There is another disorder, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD, which is a lot more severe than PMS and can really interfere with your life.