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Period Problems

What are period problems?

Every girl who goes through puberty will have a menstrual cycle eventually. Menstrual cycles occur as a combination of multiple factors that go on in the human body. It is important to remember that a normal menstrual cycle is different for every woman so what is normal for you, may not be normal for someone else. 

Some women may encounter no problems with their menstrual cycle, while some may have multiple problems that accompany their menstrual cycle every month, such as:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Painful periods
  • Spotting between periods

What causes period problems?

Since there are a variety of period problems, there are also a range of causes. 

These are:

  • Lifestyle: having an unhealthy and stressful lifestyle can cause hormonal problems which may lead to period problems.
  • Birth control pills: these pills work by controlling the hormones responsible for your menstrual cycle. If you are regularly going on and off your birth control pills or not taking them correctly, your hormone levels can be affected which may lead to bleeding issues. 
  • Endometriosis: endometriosis occurs when the endometrial lining (which sheds during a regular menstrual cycle), starts to grow outside or within the wall of the uterus. It can cause abnormal and heavy bleeding, intense cramps, and discomfort.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: a bacterial infection that affects the female reproductive organs and can cause abnormal bleeding.
  • Uterine polyps or fibroids: uterine polyps or fibroids  are growths that may or may not be cancerous that grow on the lining of the uterus and might cause some period problems.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: also known as PCOS , it occurs when the ovary produces too much androgen which causes a hormonal imbalance and results in irregular periods and other problems.
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency: occurs in women under 40 where their ovaries do not function properly, causing the menstrual cycle to stop.
  • Gynaecological cancer: gynaecological cancers  such as cervical and uterine cancer can cause a variety of period problems.

What are the symptoms of period problems?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

  • One of the most common problems experienced by most women
  • Occurs 1-2 weeks before your period begins
  • Range of symptoms include:

Your symptoms and severity may vary each month but are usually manageable and do not require much intervention.

Irregular periods

  • Occurs when the length of your menstrual cycle is unstable and keeps changing
  • Early or late periods
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Long lasting periods

Heavy bleeding

  • Soaking through one or more pad or tampon hourly for a few hours
  • Periods that last more than 7 days
  • Tired or lethargic
  • Blood clots during periods
  • Cramping during periods

Painful periods

  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Lower back pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Fainting 
  • Radiating pain down the legs

Spotting between periods

  • Vaginal bleeding that occurs outside of your period
  • Small spots of blood

Who is at risk of period problems?

There are certain factors that increase your risk of period problems, these are:

  • Smoking: smoking increases your risk of having painful periods and premenstrual syndrome.
  • Stress: high stress lifestyles can cause hormonal problems which increases your risk of period problems.

Exercise: intensive exercise has been known to be linked to period problems.

How are period problems diagnosed?

Period problems are diagnosed using a combination of the following tests:

  • Physical examination: checks for an underlying cause of your period problems.
  • Pelvic examination: identifies any issues with your reproductive organs.
  • Pap smear: checks for cervical cancer.
  • Blood tests: checks for hormonal imbalance.
  • Endometrial biopsy: checks your uterine lining for abnormalities.
  • Hysteroscopy: checks your uterus for abnormalities.

Ultrasound: checks your uterus and ovaries for abnormalities.

What are the treatment options for period problems?

The treatment of period problems will depend on its cause and symptoms. 

  • Lifestyle changes: a change in lifestyle to a healthier one with less stress can help alleviate some symptoms of period problems.
  • Medication: medications such as pain killers, birth control pills, and hormone pills can be prescribed for a variety of period problems.

Surgery: some causes of period problems such as uterine fibroids or polyps and even endometriosis require surgery to remove them.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can period problems be avoided?
    There are certain things you can do to reduce your risk of having period problems such as lifestyle changes, ensuring that your use of birth control pills is well-managed, and going for regular checkups.
    If you experience any period problems, it is recommended to see a gynaecologist (link to contact us) for an assessment.

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Singapore 228510

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