Menstrual conditions: Introduction
Menstrual irregularities are common disorders of a woman's reproductive organs, including the uterus and/or the ovaries. Menstrual irregularities include a variety of conditions in which menstruation is irregular, heavy, painful, or does not occur at all.
One type of menstrual irregularity happens when a woman's menstrual period does not occur for more than 35 days after the last menstrual period. This menstrual irregularity is called oligomenorrhea. Another type of menstrual irregularity happens when the menstrual period occurs less than 21 days after the last menstrual period.
These menstrual irregularities are often due to an imbalance of hormones. This is often related to such conditions as pregnancy, eating disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, stress, perimenopause, early miscarriage, early puberty, or a side effect of certain medications, such as birth control pills.
Spotting (light vaginal bleeding) and vaginal bleeding between periods are also menstrual irregularities. These menstrual irregularities can be due to such conditions as endometriosis, ovulation, pregnancy, perimenopause, early miscarriage, or a side effect of certain medications, such as birth control pills.
Menstrual irregularities also include menstrual periods that are painful (dysmenorrhea) and/or too heavy (menorrhagia). These menstrual irregularities can be due to such conditions as fibroids or endometriosis.
Complications of menstrual irregularities can include difficulty getting pregnant, anemia and infertility. For more details about symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of menstrual irregularities.
Risk factors for the development of menstrual irregularities include having a mother or sister with menstrual irregularities, never having children and starting the menstrual period at an early or late age.
Symptoms of menstrual irregularities can mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as potentially fatal uterine cancer. It is important for women who experience symptoms of menstrual irregularities to promptly seek medical care and diagnosis. A diagnosis may be delayed for a variety of reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of menstrual irregularities.
Diagnosis of menstrual irregularities begins with a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and examination, including a pelvic examination. Diagnostic testing varies depending on the suspected cause.
Blood tests may include hormone tests, such as a FSH test, which measures blood levels of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). There is also a blood test that measures estradiol levels. Estradiol is a type of the hormone estrogen, and levels of it decline when the ovaries begin to fail in such conditions as perimenopause.
Diagnostic tests may include a transvaginal ultrasound. In this test a picture of the reproductive organs is created using sound waves produced by a probe placed in the vagina. In some patients with heavy bleeding, an endometrial biopsy may be done to test for uterine cancer.
Another diagnostic test is a laparoscopy. In this procedure, the reproductive organs, such as the uterus and ovaries, are examined for abnormalities by using a tiny lighted instrument that is inserted through a small incision below the belly button.
Treatment of menstrual irregularities is tailored to the individual case, the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, and the presence of any complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of menstrual irregularities. ...more »
Any condition relation to menstruation. Most menstrual conditions involve some type of menstrual irregularity. Some examples are premenstrual syndrome, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia. Menstrual conditions can be caused by things such as certain drugs, endometrial cancer, pregnancy and thyroid abnormalities. ...more »
Menstrual conditions: Symptoms
Symptoms of menstrual irregularities run the gamut from minimal to severe. Symptoms of menstrual irregularities occur with hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle, and they are often associated with heavy, uncomfortable, and/or irregular menstrual periods. Symptoms occur during the time of life when a woman is having menstrual cycles and disappear after menopause.
Symptoms can ...more symptoms »
Menstrual conditions: Treatments
Although menstrual irregularities may not be curable in all cases, there are treatments available to minimize symptoms, allowing many women to lead a normal, active life and to conceive a healthy pregnancy.
Treatment for menstrual irregularities consists of a multi-faceted plan that is individualized to the type of irregularity, the underlying cause, the severity and the presence of ...more treatments »
Menstrual conditions: Misdiagnosis
Symptoms of mild menstrual irregularities can be similar to and confused with symptoms of serious conditions, such as uterine cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ovarian cysts. Some of these conditions can be very serious, even fatal, if left untreated. In addition, untreated menstrual irregularities can also lead to serious complications, such as infertility.
...more misdiagnosis »
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