Are you worried about a late period, when you are not pregnant? Is your period bringing days of pain? If you have a terrible period, you shouldn’t ignore it. The menstrual cycle is a natural biological change that a woman undergoes. You should have regular periods unless you are dealing with a medical condition that causes your period to stop, such as pregnancy, postmenopausal and breastfeeding.
The cycles often bring about a few uncomfortable symptoms like mild cramping, mood swings, acne, tender breasts, and fatigue, which usually goes away when your period ends. However, there are other, more serious menstrual problems leading up to your period including heavy bleeding, irregular periods, menstrual pain, and missing periods, among others. If you are facing any such issues or have an abnormal menstrual cycle, you should bring them up to your primary care doctor.
In this post, we have listed six major menstrual problems that you may be experiencing and have explained the ways to deal with them.
Excessive Menstrual Pain
One of the most common problems women have with their periods is feeling excessive pain in the lower belly. Some women may feel traction in the pelvic area or heaviness in the abdomen. Cramps generally occur when your uterine muscles contract as your period begins. The higher the contraction levels you have, the worse the pain you feel.
There are two types of period pain: primary dysmenorrhea that is typically caused by contractions of the uterus, and secondary dysmenorrhea that can be linked to medical problems like pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroid and abnormal growth of tissue outside of the uterus. If you have painful periods, consult your internist who may prescribe over-the-counter pain medicines or conduct a physical exam to rule out this health problem.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is when a woman experiences physical and emotional changes before or during her period. The premenstrual syndrome usually occurs one to two weeks before your period begins and lasts two to three days during the period. The symptoms and its severity may vary from month to month. However, some common signs and symptoms of PMS you might have are tiredness, mood swings, anxiety, irritability, acne, backaches, headaches, bloating, depression, constipation, and diarrhea, among others.
Women with excessively heavy or long period have menorrhea, which causes them to bleed more than usual. They may have blood clots and their periods last for longer than seven days. Menorrhea is caused by imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels that leads to form endometrium (lining of the uterus).
Other causes of heavy periods include problems with the uterine lining, non-cancerous uterine fibroids, vaginal infections, thyroid, puberty, inflammation of the cervix, obesity, uterine polyps and changes in diet. If you have heavy bleeding that lasts for more than average days, see your internal medicine doctor who will perform tests like a pap smear, ultrasound or blood tests to diagnose the cause and provide the right treatment.
The average length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days, but this varies between individuals. Periods are considered irregular if your cycle is shorter or longer than average. Irregular period or oligomenorrhea is normal during the early stages of puberty or during the transition to menopause. If your periods are not regular over time, you should reach out to your primary care physician.
A number of factors that are associated with irregular periods are stress, thyroid issues, extreme weight loss or gain, eating disorder, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uncontrolled diabetes, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and obesity. Irregular periods are also a sign of premature ovarian failure.
The medical condition in which a woman may not get a menstrual period before menopause is called amenorrhea. You may have primary amenorrhea if you don’t get your first period by age 15 or may experience secondary amenorrhea when you stop menstruating for six months or more. The absence of a menstrual period can be caused due to hormonal imbalance, issues with the pituitary gland, low level of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, or a delay in puberty.
There are many physical factors that may cause amenorrhea, which includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress, weight gain or loss, thyroid, hormonal problems, stopping birth control, PID, ovarian cysts, and premature ovarian failure. Your internist may give hormonal therapy or provide other suitable treatment.
Unusual bleeding is different from heavy bleeding, which may occur during the menstrual period. Abnormal bleeding happens when you don’t have periods. Though spotting between periods is normal if you are pregnant or have started birth control. But if you start spotting when nothing has changed, you must visit a doctor at the internal medicine clinic. Abnormal bleeding can be a sign of PID, endometriosis, cervical, uterine or ovarian cancer, hormonal changes, and ovarian cysts.
If you are experiencing menstrual problems, visit Artisans of Medicine right away! Our experienced doctors of internal medicine in Brooklyn work with you to help get your periods more regular by providing the right treatment.