Menstrual Disorders


Basics

Menstrual disorders affect both the physical and mental wellbeing of a woman who experiences them. Whether she suffers from amenorrhea, menorrhagia, or dysmenorrhea, the resultant discomfort may range from an annoyance to an inability to function in daily tasks. Fortunately, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that most of these menstrual disorders can be treated successfully, whether they cause too much or too little bleeding, pain and bloating, or mood swings.


The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) defines the monthly cycle as the way a woman's body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy. Normal monthly cycles average 28 days, and the period averages 3 to 7 days. However, an underlying problem at any point during the monthly cycle, or with the reproductive organs themselves, may cause a disorder.

What are the various menstrual disorders, and what causes them?

Prevention
Treatment

Menstrual disorders are not diseases in and of themselves, but rather symptoms of an underlying root problem which must be addressed before treatment will succeed. Disorders involving the monthly cycle are often treated with the use of oral contraceptives; these prescription medications may regulate the monthly cycle and eliminate symptoms, but may cause side effects including weight gain, headaches, and disruption of sleep patterns.

Amenorrhea treatment often involves an evaluation of lifestyle so that changes can be made with regard to body weight, physical exertion level, or stress.

Menorrhagia treatment involves the prescription of iron tablets, prostaglandin inhibitors or progesterone, and sometimes may only be facilitated through surgery such as dilation & curettage (D&C) or hysterectomy. However, hormone therapies are often responsible for many side effects, and invasive surgery requires recovery and pain medication.

Dysmenorrhea may also be treated through surgery, as well as antibiotics; some women have even found pain relief through yoga, massage or acupuncture.

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When to see your doctor

Be sure to see your doctor if you suffer from abnormally heavy bleeding for two or more periods in a row, or if the bleeding is accompanied by pain.





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