Although the majority of women in the world have menstruation in common, it is not a topic that is openly discussed, which leads to many women not knowing what is normal and abnormal when it comes to their menstrual cycle. Menstrual disorders are concerning for several reasons — not only can these disorders and their symptoms disrupt a woman’s daily life, but they can also affect her ability to become pregnant. The following are some common menstrual disorders that women should be aware of.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Chances are you get some signs that tell you when your period is coming. For many women, it’s fairly mild; maybe you get slightly irritable or your breasts become tender. But for others, it completely messes with your normal life.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the combination of symptoms that many women — up to 75 percent! — experience about a week before their period starts. Symptoms can include cramps, bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, a heightened emotional state, skin problems or backaches.
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Menstrual bleeding can be considered heavy when it interferes with your normal life. Heavy menstrual bleeding can be caused by several factors: Hormonal imbalances, structural abnormalities in your uterus or other medical conditions including thyroid problems, kidney disease, etc.
No menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea)
No menstrual bleeding, or amenorrhea, is a condition that is usually linked to the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. A lack of menstrual bleeding in teenaged women can also be caused by low body weight, which results in a delayed maturing of the pituitary gland. If a woman has a regular period, then suddenly stops for several months or longer, it is usually caused by a problem with estrogen levels.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder where your ovaries develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. Signs and symptoms typically develop around the time of the first menstrual period; however, it can also develop later in life for some women. The following are some of the signs of polycystic ovary syndrome:
- Irregular periods: Infrequent, prolonged or irregular menstrual cycles are the most common sign of polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Polycystic ovaries: This one seems obvious, but not every woman knows when she has polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs, which results in the ovaries failing to function regularly.
- Excess androgen: This one is a little easier to spot, as elevated levels of this male hormone usually result in physical signs. Excess facial or body hair, male-pattern baldness or severe acne are signs that you may have polycystic ovary syndrome.
Uterine fibroids, commonly referred to simply as fibroids, are non-cancerous growths in a woman’s uterus. Surprisingly, fibroids affect most women at some point in their lives. Most of the time, they cause no symptoms or problems and usually don’t require any treatment. Fibroids can become an issue when they increase in size or number. Some symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, anemia, severe menstrual cramps, issues urinating, low back or abdominal pain, pain during intercourse and more.
A diagnosis of any medical condition should be carried out by and discussed with your healthcare provider. Most menstrual disorders are diagnosed by completing a detailed medical history and physical exam and are treated using a variety of options including dietary changes, medications or surgical treatment.Menstrual disordersMenstrual disordersMenstrual disorders