Dr Glenda McLaren
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Menstrual Disorders

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Menstrual Disorders

Menstrual disorders can significantly impact a woman’s reproductive years, leading to various issues such as heavy periods (menorrhagia), irregular menstruation (oligomenorrhea), or even absent periods (amenorrhea). Among the common menstrual disorders, painful periods (dysmenorrhea) can also disrupt daily life. The good news is that these disorders can be effectively investigated and treated to provide relief from symptoms.

Types of Menstrual Disorders

Menstrual disorders encompass a range of conditions that can affect women’s well-being. Understanding the different types of menstrual disorders is essential for proper diagnosis and management. These conditions may include:

Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods): 
Heaving Menstrual Bleeding (HMB) or Menorrhagia refers to heavy menstrual bleeding that can lead to anemia, fatigue, and social isolation during the heaviest days. It is often caused by various factors, including hormonal imbalances and uterine conditions. Diagnostic tests such as blood tests and ultrasounds are employed to determine the cause. Treatment options range from medication to minimally invasive procedures, and lifestyle adjustments can also contribute to effective management. You can learn more about Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB) and treatment options, via our blog article here: Treatment of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding – Bloom Women’s Health.

Oligomenorrhea (Irregular Periods):
Oligomenorrhea signifies irregular menstruation, which can be caused by hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or other underlying factors. Diagnosis involves assessing menstrual patterns and potential contributing factors. Treatment approaches can include hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, and addressing any specific causes identified during diagnosis.

Amenorrhea (Absent Periods):
Amenorrhea, or the absence of menstrual periods, can result from conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, or excessive exercise. A thorough evaluation is necessary to pinpoint the cause, which may involve hormone tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic methods. Treatment strategies are tailored to address the underlying condition, with a focus on restoring regular menstrual cycles to support overall health.

Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods):
Dysmenorrhea, characterised by severe menstrual pain, can significantly impact daily life. It is often associated with uterine muscle contractions and hormonal imbalances. Diagnosis involves assessing the nature and severity of pain. Pain management options, including pain relievers and lifestyle changes, aim to alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life.

Unusual Bleeding:
Unusual bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse, can be attributed to hormonal fluctuations, cervical or uterine issues, or medications. Diagnosis requires clinical examination and investigations to identify the root cause. Treatment approaches are selected based on the underlying issue and can encompass hormonal therapies, lifestyle modifications, and preventive measures.

Management of Menstrual Disorders​

Managing menstrual disorders involves a comprehensive approach that considers the specific condition and its underlying causes.

Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) Management​

Diagnostic Tests:
Diagnostic tests such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and hysteroscopy are essential for identifying the root cause of heavy periods, whether it’s due to fibroids, hormonal imbalances, or other factors.

Treatment Options:
Management of menorrhagia involves a range of treatment methods, from medication, to the insertion of Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) like Mirena, to minimally invasive procedures like endometrial ablation. Surgical options, including hysterectomy, may be considered when necessary.

Preventive Measures:
Alongside medical treatments, lifestyle changes, including dietary adjustments and stress management, can play a significant role in managing heavy periods effectively. You can learn more about Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB) and treatment options, via our blog article here: Treatment of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding – Bloom Women’s Health.

Irregular Periods (Oligomenorrhea) Management

Causes and Diagnosis:
Because there are many possible causes of irregular periods, any treatment will depend on the likely cause. Your doctor can arrange tests to find out what is affecting your periods. They will examine the factors contributing to oligomenorrhea, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, or stress, and how they are diagnosed through hormonal tests and imaging studies.

Treatment Approaches:
Your doctor might discuss a prescription for the oral contraceptive pill to help make your periods regular. The contraceptive pill contains hormones, which take over your body’s natural hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, and control your menstrual cycles.

If the cause of your irregular period is an imbalance of hormones in your body, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or a thyroid disorder, your doctor will discuss specific medical treatment and intervention options based on your situation.

Lifestyle Tips:
Sometimes your doctor will recommend a lifestyle modification, such as weight loss for women who are overweight, or exercising less if excessive exercise is the cause.

Depending on the cause, regular exercise and stress reduction, can also support the management of oligomenorrhea.

Absent Periods (Amenorrhea) Management

Possible Causes:
Absent periods (amenorrhea) may result from conditions like PCOS, thyroid disorders, or excessive exercise. Diagnosis entails hormone tests, imaging studies, and clinical evaluation to determine the root cause.

Treatment Strategies: 
Treatment strategies aim to restore regular menstrual cycles by addressing the underlying condition. This can include hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, and specific interventions based on the diagnosis.

Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea) Management

Causes and Diagnosis:
Dysmenorrhea, characterised by severe menstrual pain, is often associated with uterine muscle contractions and hormonal imbalances. Diagnosing the condition involves evaluating the nature and severity of pain.

Pain Management: 
Pain management options for dysmenorrhea include nonprescription pain relievers, hormonal birth control methods, and lifestyle changes. For cases of secondary dysmenorrhea caused by underlying conditions (such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis), targeted treatments may be necessary.

Unusual Bleeding Management

Identifying Causes: 
Unusual bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse, may be due to hormonal fluctuations, cervical or uterine issues, or medications. Diagnosis involves clinical examination and investigations to identify the underlying cause.

Treatment Approaches: 
Managing unusual bleeding involves addressing the underlying issue. Treatment options may include hormonal therapies, lifestyle modifications, and preventive measures to minimise the risk of further episodes.

Setting up an Appointment

To schedule your screening with Bloom Women’s Health, please contact us or fill in our Contact Form. Our team is here to support you throughout the process and ensure you receive the care you deserve. 

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