Menstrual Disorders (Painful or Irregular Periods): Women's Health
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Menstrual Disorders (Painful or Irregular Periods)

Menstrual Disorders (Painful or Irregular Periods): Women’s Health

Menstrual Disorders

Menstruation or monthly period is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s life. Every month, a woman’s body prepares for fertilization. If no fertilization occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partially blood and partially tissue of the inside of the uterus. It eliminates out of the body through the vagina.

Some women get their monthly periods easily with mild or no concerns. Their periods occur clockwork, starting and stopping at almost the same time every month, causing no or minor inconvenience. However, many women experience a lot of physical and/or emotional symptoms just before and during menstruation. From heavy bleeding and skipped periods to troublesome mood swings. These symptoms may disrupt a woman’s life in crucial ways.

If one or more of the symptoms are experienced by a woman before or during her periods, it can cause a problems. It could be a cause of having menstrual cycle “disorder.” Menstrual disorders include:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Amenorrhea
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Menorrhagia

Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS

PMS is an irritating or uncomfortable symptom during the menstrual cycle. PMS is a term used to describe a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms a woman suffers during her periods. Symptoms of PMS are more severe and disruptive than the typical lenient premenstrual symptoms and as many as 75% of all women experience it.

PMS seems to be caused by fluctuating levels of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which may control the brain chemicals, including serotonin, a substance that has a strong influence on mood. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMD) is a critical form of PMS which affects 3%-8% of women of reproductive age and requires treatment by a physician or healthcare provider.

Symptoms of PMS Include:

Each woman may experience symptoms of PMS differently. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, and irritability)
  • Acne
  • Headache
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle spasms
  • Unconsciousness
  • Heart palpation
  • Allergies
  • Vision problems
  • Decreased coordination
  • Infections
  • Diminished libido (sex drive)
  • Appetite problem
  • Fluid retention

Simple adaptation in lifestyle can help get rid or reduce the severity of the symptoms, including:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a well-balanced diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, and limit salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Getting adequate and peaceful sleep and rest


Amenorrhea is a condition that is characterized by the absence of menstrual periods for more than three monthly menstrual cycles. Absent of periods is reasonable before puberty, during pregnancy, and after menopause. But if a women does not have a monthly period and do not fit in these three categories, discuss this problem with your physician or health care provider.

There are Two Types of Amenorrhea

1. Primary Amenorrhea A condition diagnosed when a female is at her puberty stage but has not menstruated. This is usually caused due to a fault in the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. Also, this can be a result of low body weight associated with eating disorders and medications. Primary amenorrhea can be caused by several other reasons, such as problems with ovaries, genetic abnormalities, delayed maturation of the pituitary gland.

2. Secondary Amenorrhea – If a women experiences regular monthly periods, but suddenly the periods are skipped for three months or longer, this condition is known as secondary amenorrhea. This can occur due to the problems with estrogen levels, including weight loss, stress, or illness.

Causes of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea can be caused by a number of reasons such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause as a part of the normal course of life. There are some medical conditions which may cause amenorrhea:

  • Ovulation deformity
  • Birth defect, anatomical abnormality 
  • Eating disorder
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Excessive or strenuous exercise


Dysmenorrhea is the menstrual disorder characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain during menstruation. The cause of dysmenorrhea is dependent on the type, i.e. primary or secondary dysmenorrhea. In primary dysmenorrhea, women experience abnormal uterine contractions resulting from a chemical imbalance in the body. Medical conditions, most often endometriosis, cause secondary dysmenorrhea. Other possible causes include: 

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Abnormal pregnancy (i.e., miscarriage, ectopic)
  • Infection, tumors, or polyps in the pelvic area
  • Uterine fibroids

Any woman can develop dysmenorrhea, but those who are at a higher risk of developing dysmenorrhea include women who may:

  • Smoke
  • Take excessive alcohol intake during their period
  • Be overweight
  • Have occurrence of menstruation before the age of 11 

Dysmenorrhea Symptoms: 

The most common symptoms include:

  • Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen
  • Low back pain or pain radiating down the legs
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Headaches


It is the most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding and characterized by heavy and prolonged bleeding. In some cases, bleeding may be so severe that daily routines are interrupted.

Other forms of this condition, also called dysfunctional uterine bleeding, may include:

  • Polymenorrhagia – Too frequent menstruation.
  • Oligomenorrhea – Infrequent menstrual cycles
  • Metrorrhagia – Irregular, non-menstrual bleeding which occurs between menstrual periods
  • Postmenopausal bleeding – Bleeding that occurs more than one year after the last normal menstrual period at menopause

Menorrhagia Causes:

There are several possible causes of menorrhagia, including:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Abnormal pregnancy; i.e. miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy
  • Infection, tumors or polyps in the pelvic cavity
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Bleeding or platelet disorders
  • Certain birth control devices
  • High levels of prostaglandins (responsible for controlling muscle contractions of the uterus)
  • High levels of endothelin (responsible for dilating blood vessels)
  • Liver, kidney or thyroid disease

Diagnostics and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).






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Menstrual Disorders (Painful or Irregular Periods): Women's Health
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Menstrual Disorders (Painful or Irregular Periods): Women's Health
Overview of menstrual disorders (painful/irregular periods)-learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis & treatment here. A menstrual disorder is an abnormal condition in a woman's menstrual cycle.
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