How often do you experience period pain? Do you bleed heavily during your cycle? Or perhaps your cycle never seems to even start. Have you ever wondered if it’s more than just period pain? If you’re shouting “Yes,” to any of these questions, you may have a menstrual disorder.
Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime and 5 to 10% of women experience such severe pain that it disrupts their daily life. It’s important to remember that painful periods are not normal. If you fall into that category, you may have a menstrual disorder. A menstrual disorder is when physical or emotional symptoms before, during or after menstruation disrupt daily life.
Here’s what to look for when comes to menstrual disorders.
Common Menstrual Disorders
Believe it or not, there is a medical term for period pain, and it’s known as dysmenorrhea. There are two types of dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea which is common cramping in the abdomen often associated with pain just before or after a woman’s period. Primary dysmenorrhea is not related to other women’s health conditions.
Secondary dysmenorrhea, however, is cramping and pain that is due to disease. Pain may be so severe that a woman may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea may be related to the following conditions:
Women experiencing dysmenorrhea may try the following to ease discomfort:
- Taking pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen
- Applying heat to the lower stomach
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco use
- Exercising regularly
- Taking oral contraceptives
Premenstrual syndrome, better known as PMS, is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that a woman may experience one to two weeks prior to the start of her period. PMS is an extremely common menstrual disorder. In fact, 90% of women have reported experiencing PMS symptoms.
Symptoms include the following:
- Swollen breasts
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Headache or backache
- Too little or too much sleep
- Concentration troubles
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can be difficult to relieve. If you’re experiencing any of the above, start to track it. Having a record is helpful for your doctor to determine the best course of action to ease your symptoms.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, menorrhagia affects more than 10 million women each year. So, what is menorrhagia? Menorrhagia is prolonged or abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts more than seven days. Women with menorrhagia often soak through sanitary products and may experience twice as much blood loss than what is typical for menstruation. Such blood loss can also cause anemia, which can leave a woman feeling tired and weak.
If you’ve experienced prolonged or heavy bleeding lasting more than seven days, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. No one period is the same and every woman defines heavy bleeding differently, so diagnosing menorrhagia can be challenging. However, you can help your doctor by tracking your period. Whether you write it in a journal or employ a period app tracker, this history helps your doctor better understand your symptoms leading to a faster diagnosis and treatment plan.
Oligomenorrhea & Amenorrhea
Oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea are two conditions that are closely related in cause, evaluation and treatment. Oligomenorrhea is when a woman is experiencing infrequent periods; infrequent defined as less than six to eight periods in a year. Amenorrhea is the complete absence of a period. There are two types of amenorrhea to be aware of, primary and secondary.
Primary amenorrhea is when a young woman has not had a period by the age of 15. While secondary amenorrhea is when a woman has missed several periods in a row, typically in a three-month span. The most likely cause for secondary amenorrhea is pregnancy; a doctor can confirm through a pregnancy and blood test.
Similar to other menstrual disorders, oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea are evaluated through a physical exam and reviewing one’s medical history. Again, tracking menstrual cycles can be an essential piece in diagnosis. It’s also important to note any symptoms you may be experiencing before, during or after a period.
- Breast discharge
- Hot flashes
- Facial or chest hair growth
- Blurred vision
Treatment for both conditions depends on the patient and the severity. Irregular menstrual cycles often indicate another underlying women’s health condition.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Asherman syndrome
- Hypothalamic amenorrhea
- Pituitary gland issues
Addressing Menstrual Disorders
Now that you know the common menstrual disorders, you may be wondering if need to make an appointment. If you’ve felt a knot in your stomach after recognizing familiar symptoms in this article, it is time to make an appointment with the doctors at the Kaldas Center. Depending on your specific situation, we work with you to find the best solution in managing your menstrual disorder. Call us at (920)886-2299 or visit KaldasCenter.com to learn how you can take control of your reproductive health.