Menstrual disorders are a set of problems that affect a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle (monthly bleeding). They include no menstruation (amenorrhoea), light or irregular periods (oligomenorrhoea), heavy periods (menorrhagia) and painful periods (dysmenorrhoea).
Hormones play an important role in regulating growth and other bodily functions. At the onset of puberty, a mixture of female and male sex hormones is produced for sexual maturity. An imbalance in these hormones or increased production of male hormones can lead to menstrual disorders.
The recent increase in childhood and adolescent obesity is also a major factor that has led to the high incidence of menstrual disorders. Other causes may include:
- Dysmenorrhea may occur due to endometriosis (chronic condition where the uterine lining grows over the ovaries and bladder) or fibroids (noncancerous growth on the walls of the uterus), cyst in the ovaries and the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs).
- Menorrhagia may be caused due to uterine fibroids, problems in ovulation (release of fully developed ovarian cells), endometriosis, uterine polyps (small benign growth), cancer, severe infection, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), certain medication and IUDs.
- Oligomenorrhoea may develop due to polycystic ovary syndrome (ovarian cysts), weight loss, endometriosis, stress and medications.
Symptoms associated with menstrual disorders are:
- Irregular periods
- Lower back pain
- Sense of burning during urination
- Infertility (difficulty getting pregnant)
- Abdominal cramps
- Unusual vaginal discharge
Your doctor will collect your medical history to understand the reason behind your condition. You may be ordered blood tests to evaluate the variation in the levels of hormone. An ultrasound examination or CT scan may be ordered to examine the presence of cysts, fibroids or tumours in your ovaries. Laparoscopic examination and biopsy may be performed to diagnose cancer.
Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapy or oral contraceptive pills to treat menstrual disorders. Surgical procedures may include the removal of fibroids, cysts or tumours. Surgery may be recommended only in cases of severe menstrual disorders. Other cosmetic procedures, such as electrolysis (mild current targeted at hair follicles) and laser therapy (laser beam targeted over skin to destroy hair follicles), and temporary hair removal procedures (waxing, shaving, etc.) may help control the excessive growth of hair.