What They Are and How to Fix Them
Every woman has a different menstrual cycle, from the consistency of the blood that is shed to the amount of time her period lasts. However, all women are subject to bothersome symptoms, regardless of how unique each menstrual cycle is. It’s important to note what these issues are, how to diagnose them and what our physicians at Women First Health Center can do to treat them, in order to ensure that you have improved, healthy, and normalized menstrual cycles in the future.
Heavy, Abnormal Bleeding
Heavy, abnormal bleeding – also known as menorrhagia – is a more common menstrual problem than people may think, caused by the imbalanced hormones progesterone and estrogen. Menorrhagia also causes a woman to bleed for a longer period of time (more than the average five to seven days). Heavy bleeding can typically be caused by puberty or perimenopause, vaginal infections, or even an underactive thyroid gland or the inflammation of the cervix.
The Absence of a Period
Conversely, some women may experience amenorrhea – the absence of period. This menstrual problem comes in two forms: Primary amenorrhea, in which a girl does not menstruate before the age of 16, and secondary amenorrhea, when a woman stops getting her regular period for six months or longer. The causes for both are different in teens and adults. Typically, teens experience amenorrhea if they have gained or lost weight suddenly, stopped taking their birth control, have ovarian cysts, or have an overactive thyroid gland. However, adults who experience it might have premature ovarian failure, pelvic inflammatory disease or are nearing menopause.
Painful Menstrual Cycles
Painful periods are a common problem that many women can experience. Even though cramping is a normal symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), some women report feeling severe to almost unbearable pain while they menstruate. Known as dysmenorrhea, painful cramping during a menstrual cycle can be associated with fibroids, abnormal tissue outside of the uterus and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Treatment for Menstrual Problems
A physician will first diagnose the symptoms of your menstrual problem using any of the following practices: history and symptom evaluation, physical exam, pelvic imaging, bloodwork, or bipsies. Treatment for painful menstrual cycles typically include anti-inflammatory medications, the application of a heating pad to the abdomen or birth control pills; in some cases, light exercise may be recommended. In the instance of a period’s absence due to primary amenorrhea, the regulation of weight gain and weight loss, reducing the amount of stress in your life and adjusting to a healthy level of exercise and activity are all reasonable and effective treatment options.
If a woman is experiencing secondary amenorrhea, hormonal medication or estrogen replacement therapy may be considered for treatment. Lastly – depending on the severity of the cause – heavy and abnormal bleeding can be treated with numerous options. These include iron supplements, oral contraceptives, oral progesterone, hormonal IUD, tranexamic acid and anti-inflammatories. When drug therapy fails, or if your particular situation calls for it, menorrhagia can even call for surgery –hysterectomy, endometrial ablation or resection, myomectomy, D&C or uterine artery embolization.
Don’t let menstrual problems prevent you from living a healthy, wholesome lifestyle – contact our West Orange, New Jersey office at 973-669-5711 and schedule an appointment to speak with a physician at Women First Health Center today.