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The time of the month can be uncomfortable, but some women get it worse than others – to the extent that their day-to-day activities are affected. If this happens to you, you could be suffering from menstrual disorders.
Menstrual disorders are problems related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. This can include heavy bleeding, missed periods and even unmanageable mood swings.
There are a few menstrual disorders that a woman can have:
Heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding
Painful menstrual periods or severe menstrual cramps
Depending on the type of menstrual disorder a woman may have, the cause could vary from person to person.
Each disorder has its own symptoms – some disorders have physical symptoms and others are emotional.
Symptoms of AUB are pretty straightforward. If a woman experiences excessive bleeding during their period or if her periods are irregular, this may be an indication that she has AUB.
Characterised by persistent, extreme menstrual cramps. While periods can be painful at times, they should not be long-lasting and should not interfere with your life.
Physical symptoms include bloating, swollen and painful breasts, fatigue, constipation and headaches. Emotional symptoms include anger, anxiety, mood swings, and the inability to concentrate on tasks.
PMDD symptoms are similar to PMS. However, these symptoms could be present even when a woman is not on her period. As such, women with PMDD often experience persistent depression.
Menstrual disorders can be painful but the level of pain experienced by each person can vary. Some women may have a menstrual disorder without even knowing it simply because they have a higher tolerance for pain.
If you experience intense and persistent pain during your periods, seeking professional help from a healthcare provider will help you get an accurate diagnosis and ultimately the most suitable treatment.
Any female who has their periods regularly is at risk of getting a menstrual disorder.
However, you may be at a higher risk of developing one if you:
Started menstruating at 11 years old or younger.
Are approaching menopause soon.
The first step towards an accurate diagnosis is keeping a record of your menstrual cycle.
Track when your periods begin and ends.
Note down symptoms like menstrual cramps or pain, how heavy your flow is, and if there are any large blood clots.
Depending on this record and medical history, a doctor may perform a physical examination which can include a pelvic exam, a pap smear or an endometrial biopsy to check for:
An ultrasound scan may be needed to check for fibroids, polyps or ovarian cysts in the uterine.
Treatment for menstrual disorders depends on the type of menstrual disorder a woman has. A specific type of treatment or combination of treatments may be recommended by the healthcare provider in order to make periods more tolerable or cure the disorder.
These treatments can vary from prescribing medication, surgical interventions or radiological or hormonal treatment.
Counselling and therapy could also be recommended for women experiencing emotional disruption as a result of their menstrual disorder.