For most women, periods are little more than a slight inconvenience. They come like clockwork, repeatedly follow the same pattern of starting and stopping, and cause only minor annoyance or discomfort.
Other women are not so fortunate. For some, a host of physical and/or emotional symptoms accompany the time before and during their period, and in some cases, these are significant enough to cause a great deal of pain and disruption.
We refer to these as menstrual disorders, and they include symptoms such as excessively heavy bleeding, missed periods, and extreme mood swings. For those who suffer from such problems, experts like Mr Misra can help.
Understanding how the menstrual cycle works
Before you can understand the nature of menstrual disorders, you need to know how the menstrual cycle works. A series of changes that occur in different parts of your body over a 28-day period (on average), the cycle begins with five to seven days of bleeding.
Although it can vary from person to person in terms of length and side-effects, some people’s cycles deviate from the norm to such an extreme degree that they are classed as having a menstrual disorder.
Types of menstrual disorder
Almost everyone will experience symptoms before or during their period, but where these cause a problem, they may be classed as a menstrual cycle disorder.
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Studies suggest that one in five women have such heavy periods that they are forced to put their lives on hold to deal with them. For these women, the amount of blood they lose can be around ten to 25 times the average (of around five tablespoons) and is so extreme that it interferes with normal activities. Pads and tampons can need changing as often as hourly.
On the other side of the coin, some women fail to have periods at all. This can be either primary or secondary amenorrhea. Women are classified as the former if they turn 16 without having experienced menstruation. Those who have had regular periods before but have not had one for three months or longer fall into the latter categorisation. In either instance, medical help should be sought.
Almost all women experience cramps before or during their period, but when these are especially painful and persistent they are known as dysmenorrhea and require medical attention. Caused by uterine contractions, the condition is often linked to severe discomfort, diarrhoea, and feelings of faintness.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
These two menstrual disorders are linked. PMS refers to a range of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, and around 30 to 40% of women suffer from it to such a degree that it disrupts their lifestyle. The most commonly documented symptom is depression, and such side-effects can last for five to seven days prior to menstruation.
The difference between this and PMDD is that the former is like a mild headache compared to a migraine. 3-8% of women suffer from PMDD, with key symptoms including heightened irritability, anxiety, and mood swings.
If you’re worried that you may be suffering from any of these menstrual disorders, book a consultation with Mr Misra today and to discuss the treatment options available to you.