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Menstrual Disorders

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Menstrual Disorders are problems that affect a woman’s normal menstrual cycle. These disorders can include extremely painful cramps during bleeding, abnormally heavy bleeding, bleeding too often or too little, or even not having any bleeding. While every woman is different, and there are many variations in menstrual patterns, women should be concerned primarily if periods are coming fewer than 21 days apart or more than 3 months apart, or if your period lasts longer than 10 days.

Types of Menstrual Disorders

Dysmenorrhea (Painful Cramping): Dysmenorrhea is frequent, severe cramping during menstruation. Pain is sharp, and occurs generally in your lower stomach region, though can also spread to your back and thighs, and may onset migraines. While these cramps are usually caused by menstruation, they can also accompany another medical condition, such as uterine fibroids. It is always advised to visit your OB/GYN if you are experiencing more than your usual amount of pain during your period to make sure that it is not indicative of a bigger problem.

Most cases of Dysmenorrhea are caused by normal, hormone-like substances within the uterus and are very safe, albeit painful. If you are experience sharp pain, consult your doctor. It may be natural; however your doctor can help give you options to alleviate your pain. There are a number of medical conditions that could cause Dysmenorrhea as well. If you are experiencing sharp pain during menstruation, consult your doctor.

Menorrhagia (Heavy Bleeding): During a normal menstrual cycle, the average woman loses about 1 fluid ounce of blood, and change their tampons or pads around 3 to 6 times per day. Menorrhagia is the medical term for much heavier periods, and can be caused by a number of different factors. Many women tend to over-think the amount of blood that is lost during their period, so a few signs to look out for in case you are worried that you are bleeding to heavily are:

  • Soaking through a pad or tampon and having to change it every 1-2 hours

  • Steady, heavy flows that last 10 days or more

  • Bleeding between periods or during pregnancies. Spotting or light bleeding between periods is common, though it is still a good idea to speak with your doctor if spotting or light bleeding occur, especially during pregnancies. Women who experience post-menopausal bleeding are heavily encouraged to consult their doctor as this can be indicative of something much more significant and dangerous.

In addition to these signs, Menorrhagia occurs at regular intervals and can last longer than the initial week of the period. Menorrhagia will also cause women to lose an average of 2.5 fluid ounces during their period, which is significantly more than the average of 1 fluid ounce. Additionally, a heavy flow can cause clotting, and because of this painful cramping may accompany Menorrhagia due to the pain of trying to pass large clots.

Amenorrhea (Absence of Menstruation): Amenorrhea is the absence of any menstruation whatsoever, and will occur in one of two categories: primary or secondary.

Primary Amenorrhea: This occurs whenever a girl has not begun to menstruate by her 16th birthday. If a girl has not shown signs of sexual development (breast development, pubic hair, etc) by age 13, a doctor should be consulted for an evaluation.

Secondary Amenorrhea: This occurs whenever periods that have generally be occurring regularly begin occurring 3 months apart, or stop for an extreme period of time.

If you have been experiencing either of these symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.

Oligomenorrhea (Light or Infrequent Menstruation): Oligomenorrhea occurs when menstrual cycles are light and infrequent, usually recurring more than 35 days apart. Oligomenorrhea is very common in early adolescence and does not indicate a problem until maturation. When girls first menstruate, they often do not have a regular cycle for several years. Even healthy cycles in adult women can vary by a few days month-to-month. Periods may sometimes occur every 3 weeks in some women as opposed to every 4 weeks, while in other women they may occur every 5 weeks. Flow also may vary from heavy to light. However skipping a period and then having a heavy flow is cause to see your doctor.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): PMS is a set of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that occur during the last week before you begin menstruating. The symptoms typically do not show up until 10 days before menstruation begins, and end within 4 days after bleeding begins. Women may begin to have PMS symptoms at any time during their reproductive years, but they generally are the most prevalent during the mid 20s through the early 40s. Once they have been established, these symptoms seem to remain constant until menopause is reached, though they can vary from cycle to cycle.

Contacting a Medical Professional

If you are are experiencing menstrual disorders or irregularities, contact Dr. Amaro’s office today to schedule an appointment. Without proper care and examination, you could be putting yourself at risk for cervical cancer.

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