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Menstrual Disorders and How to Live With Them Blogs
Menstrual Disorders and How to Live With Them
Areeba Abid June 20, 2023

Fluctuations in the menstrual cycle are usually common and nothing to worry about, but anything a little too out of the ordinary might be a menstrual disorder

There is no way to clinically test for menstrual disorders so the diagnosis is made purely based on symptoms. This is why it is important for women to be familiar with menstrual disorders. It can help them identify irregularities in their menstrual cycle and how to deal with them. 

Some of the most common menstrual disorders include: 

Menorrhagia - Heavy Periods

Blood flow during periods is different for every woman. Some women have heavy periods that last for a week while others may have light periods that last only a few days. You have your own unique menstrual cycle. But when you bleed more than you usually do, it may be indicative of heavy periods, medically known as menorrhagia. 

In this disorder, your blood flow increases to the point it becomes a hindrance to your everyday activities and you have to change out of your menstrual products more frequently. Not just that, your period may also last longer than it usually does. 

The most common cause of heavy periods is an imbalance between hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. 

Other causes include:

  • An underactive thyroid, medically known as hypothyroidism 
  • Puberty 
  • Fibroids 
  • Vaginal infections 
  • Blood clotting disorder 
  • Bleeding disorders 
  • Side effect of some medication such as heparin 

Amenorrhea - No Periods 

There are only three times in a woman’s life when not having periods is normal - before puberty, during pregnancy and after menopause. Other than that, anytime you stop having your periods is classified as a menstrual disorder called amenorrhea. 

Amenorrhea is of two types, primary and secondary. 

Primary amenorrhea is diagnosed when you turn 16 but haven’t had your first period yet. This delay can be caused by:

  • Imbalance of hormones 
  • Low body weight  
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Overactive thyroid, medically known as hyperthyroidism 

Secondary amenorrhea is diagnosed if you stop getting your regular periods for three months or more. It can be used by:

  • Premature ovarian failure 
  • Stress
  • Weight loss 
  • A reproductive infection 

Dysmenorrhea - Painful Periods: 

Period cramps are a part of most women’s normal menstrual cycle but when they become especially painful and persist over time, they can be indicative of a menstrual disorder called dysmenorrhea. 

Certain hormone-like substances produced by our bodies cause uterine contractions which result in pain. Feeling faint and experiencing diarrhea along with severe menstrual cramps means that the hormone-like substances, called prostaglandins, have sped up uterine contractions. 

Other than prostaglandins, dysmenorrhea can be the result of:

  • Fibroids 
  • Endometriosis 
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease. 

Life with a menstrual disorder

Period irregularities are a normal part of menstrual cycles, however, whenever there is a sudden and abrupt change in your cycle that is out of the ordinary, it is best to contact your doctor. Identifying menstrual disorders can lead to the diagnosis of any underlying conditions that may be causing them, thus avoiding further health complications. Ultimately, it is a wise choice to go to the doctor in case of any concern. 

You can also change your everyday lifestyle a little in addition to medical treatment. Some routine changes that might make life with a menstrual disorder include: 

  • Eating healthy, nutritious food 
  • Exercising moderately - not too much and not too little 
  • Trying to reduce stress by using relaxation techniques such as meditation 
  • Avoiding the use of birth control pills and other contraceptives without a doctor’s prescription 
  • Changing menstrual products every 4 to 6 hours in order to avoid any infections 
  • Maintaining good menstrual hygiene 
  • Keeping up with doctor visits
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