While it might not be the time you’re in the best of moods, menstruation is an essential part of every woman’s life, and you always monitor those special days of the month. For a lot of us, menstruation can be about the bleeding and cramps that come with the process. Period pain is common during menstruation, but when such symptoms start to affect your day to day - there could be an underlying problem. And while this shouldn't be a cause for alarm, if you discover any abnormalities, you’ll be on your way to see a specialist. Here are the 6 most common menstrual disorders to be aware of.
Endometriosis (Symptoms include intense pain and discomfort)
22% of women globally are reported to suffer from Endometriosis. This common condition can be a cause of great, and often overlooked menstrual pain and discomfort. Here, tissue similar to that which usually lines the inside of the uterus (endometrial tissue), grows on the outside. Just like endometrial tissue, it thickens, breaks down, and sheds with every menstrual bleeding. However, since this tissue doesn’t have a way to exit the body, it becomes trapped. As a result surrounding tissue can become irritated, leading to abnormal bands of fibrous tissue, which cause pelvic organs to stick to one another. Endometriosis can cause severe pain during your period, and may also be responsible for fertility issues. Luckily, the condition is preventable or treatable.
Amenorrhea (Absence of menstruation)
While most women begin menstruation as early as age 11, for some it takes longer. A female who has turned 16 but still doesn’t experience menstrual periods might suffer from a condition called Amenorrhea. This condition is linked to the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. It could be as a result of low body weight or delayed maturity of the pituitary gland. Women who have missed their period at least three months in a row also suffer from Amenorrhea. It can be prevented and is treatable, so see a physician as soon as possible if you notice this type of abnormality in your cycle.
Menorrhagia (Heavy or excessive blood flow)
When menstrual blood loss exceeds 80 mL, it is classified as Menorrhagia. In this case, cycles may be regular or irregular. There are several factors that link to Menorrhagia, including ovarian dysfunction or bleeding disorders. It may also be induced by certain medications such as antidepressants, steriods etc. And other, structural causes include endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids etc.
What’s important to know is that when abnormal bleeding lasts for an extended duration of time, it starts to impact the quality of your life, and it’s important to seek help from a doctor. Prolonged bleeding often leads to iron deficiency, with or without anemia and may also cause fatigue.
Oligomenorrhea (Infrequent cycles that are more than 36 days apart)
The most frequent cause of varying cycles with long gaps between periods is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS (A constellation of hormonal and metabolic symptoms)
PCOS is a common hormonal health condition that affects young women in their reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. They may also have excess androgen (male hormone) levels. In this disorder, a woman’s ovaries may develop numerous follicles and fail to release the ovum. While the primary cause of PCOS still isn’t known, early diagnosis and treatment alongside weight loss can mitigate the situation and prevent serious secondary complications like type 2 diabetes.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD (A severe form of PMS)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe version of PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. While the exact cause of the condition isn’t known, it could be a result of an abnormal reaction to the regular hormonal changes which occur with each menstrual cycle. PMDD symptoms appear a week before menstruation and end a few days after your period starts. Women with this condition may experience depression, anxiety, agitation, nervousness, irritability, and trouble relating with others both at work and at home. The condition can be prevented or treated once diagnosed, so be sure to see a specialist.
Since monitoring your cycle is essential to maintaining menstrual health, we hope you’re tracking your period to stay aware and informed! Please message us if you have questions or need more information.
1) McNulty, K. L., Elliott-Sale, K. J., Dolan, E., Swinton, P. A., Ansdell, P., Goodall, S., ... & Hicks, K. M. (2020). The effects of menstrual cycle phase on exercise performance in eumenorrheic women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 1-15.
2) Bruinvels, G., Burden, R. J., McGregor, A. J., Ackerman, K. E., Dooley, M., Richards, T., & Pedlar, C. (2017). Sport, exercise, and the menstrual cycle: where is the research?.
3) Tsai SY. Effect of Yoga Exercise on Premenstrual Symptoms among Female Employees in Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jul 16;13(7):721. DOI:
10.3390/ijerph13070721. PMID: 27438845; PMCID: PMC4962262.
4) Klein DA, Paradise SL, Reeder RM. Amenorrhea: A Systematic Approach to Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Jul 1;100(1):39-48. PMID: 31259490.
5) Harris HR, Babic A, Webb PM, Nagle CM, Jordan SJ, Risch HA, Rossing MA, Doherty JA, Goodman MT, Modugno F, Ness RB, Moysich KB, Kjær SK, Høgdall E, Jensen A, Schildkraut JM, Berchuck A, Cramer DW, Bandera EV, Wentzensen N, Kotsopoulos J, Narod SA, Phelan CM, McLaughlin JR, Anton-Culver H, Ziogas A, Pearce CL, Wu AH, Terry KL; Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium; Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Oligomenorrhea, and Risk of Ovarian Cancer Histotypes: Evidence from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Feb;27(2):174-182. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0655. Epub 2017 Nov 15. PMID: 29141849; PMCID: PMC5877463.
6) Wouk N, Helton M. Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Premenopausal Women. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Apr 1;99(7):435-443. PMID: 30932448.
7) Muhammad ZA, Ahmad T. Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care - A review. J Pak Med Assoc. 2017 Jan;67(1):121-125. PMID: 28065968.
8) Monji F, Adaikan PG, Lau LC, Bin Said B, Gong Y, Tan HM, Choolani M. Investigation of uterotonic properties of Ananas comosus extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Dec 4;193:21-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.041. Epub 2016 Jul 16. PMID: 27426506.
9) Bonilla Ocampo DA, Paipilla AF, Marín E, Vargas-Molina S, Petro JL, Pérez-Idárraga A. Dietary Nitrate from Beetroot Juice for Hypertension: A Systematic Review. Biomolecules. 2018 Nov 2;8(4):134. doi: 10.3390/biom8040134. PMID: 30400267; PMCID: PMC6316347.
10) Santana LF, Inada AC, Espirito Santo BLSD, Filiú WFO, Pott A, Alves FM, Guimarães RCA, Freitas KC, Hiane PA. Nutraceutical Potential of Carica papaya in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1608. doi: 10.3390/nu11071608. PMID: 31315213; PMCID: PMC6682863
11) Fong YF, Agarwal A. Cutaneous Endometriosis.; 2008.