common menstrual disorders

Menstruation is a subject that many women feel uneasy about discussing. Pixar’s 2022 film Turning Red tried to combat this taboo topic, particularly for girls and young women who may not always know what is normal or abnormal when it comes to their cycle.

Here are the three most common menstrual disorders women should be aware of:

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Also known as menorrhagia, approximately 20% of women experience heavy menstrual bleeding that disrupts their daily activities. The other forms of this condition are polymenorrhoea (too frequent), postmenopausal (menstrual periods after menopause), and metrorrhagia (bleeding between periods).

The heavy bleeding can be 10 to 25 times more severe than a normal menstrual cycle. It often occurs when you initially start menstruating or as you approach the menopause. As well as heavy flow, the menstrual period can often last more than seven days.

Causes of heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • hormonal imbalances
  • physical abnormalities such as fibroids
  • thyroid problems
  • blood clotting disorders
  • liver or kidney disease
  • complications associated with an IUD or intrauterine device
  • miscarriage
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infections

Absent Menstrual Bleeding

Primary amenorrhea occurs when a female reaches normal menstruation age, approximately 16, but still has not started menstruation. Secondary amenorrhoea is when a normal menstrual cycle becomes increasingly irregular or absent.

The reasons for absent menstrual bleeding include:

  • endocrine issues that are affecting hormones
  • delayed development of the pituitary gland
  • thyroid disorder
  • obesity
  • low body weight
  • excessive exercise

Painful Menstruation

Known as dysmenorrhoea, some women experience such painful and persistent cramps that it affects their quality of life. It can be characterised as either primary or secondary, depending on the cause.

Primary dysmenorrhoea is usually the result of a chemical imbalance, whereas secondary dysmenorrhoea is associated with other medical conditions, such as fibroids, Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or an infection.

As well as pain or cramping in the lower abdomen, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • dizziness
  • pain in the lower limbs
  • fatigue
  • headaches

For more advice on menstrual disorders and your treatment options, call 0207 722 8328 to arrange a consultation.

PCOS treatment

Polycystic ovary (ovarian) syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting one in ten women in this age group. With a range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, they can cause a lot of distress and have a big impact on a woman’s quality of life.

Those in certain ethnic groups, or with a family history of the condition are at higher risk of getting PCOS. But, still, the exact cause of PCOS is unknown.

If not treated early, PCOS can even lead to infertility as well as other long-term health complications. So here, we look at some of the first signs of PCOS and the different ways symptoms present themselves.

Symptoms and signs of PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS normally start around the time of the first menstrual period. However, sometimes symptoms develop later if you have had periods for a while.

The first signs of PCOS can include:

  • Irregular or infrequent periods
  • Too much androgen – causing excess body or facial hair, severe acne and sometimes male-pattern baldness
  • Mental and emotional health issues – including depression, low self-esteem and poor body image
  • Other health-related issues – sleep apnoea, type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and cardiovascular disease

Having fewer periods, or periods that aren’t regular (lasting longer or heavier) are common signs of PCOS. Sometimes, periods can occur more than 35 days apart or can stop entirely. Women may experience difficulties getting pregnant. Also, obesity commonly occurs with PCOS and can worsen complications of the condition.

What to do if you have signs of PCOS

It is important to seek an official medical diagnosis for PCOS as soon as you notice the early signs. Leaving it late can lead to further health problems. A delayed diagnosis can also leave you feeling helpless, particularly when compounded by weight problems. However, there is support and help available if you are suffering with PCOS.

At The Wellington Women’s Clinic, Mrs Anupama Shahid can diagnose gynaecological conditions including disorders such as PCOS, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.

Get in touch if you are concerned about signs of PCOS; we will carry out a detailed assessment and can offer different treatment options tailored specifically to you, to help you manage symptoms, and reduce any long-term health risks.