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    menstrual cycle

    A Complete Guide to Period Problems

    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 16 Jul 2019 - Written by Dr. Meenakshi Sauhta - MBBS, DGO, MD - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Women may experience period problems like painful periods, irregular menstrual cycle, PMS and heavy periods. It is important to diagnose menstruation problems to analyze the abnormality. Hormone supplements and oral contraceptives are some treatments for women suffering from menstrual problems.

    Periods usually start around the same time, when there are hormonal changes in the body, such as the development of breasts and the growth of pubic hair. The average age for the menstrual cycle is 13 years, but it is normal to start it at any time between the ages of 9 to 15 years. The average menstrual cycle is of 28 days and it can continue up to menopause, which is usually around the age of 50 years. The menstrual cycle is the monthly discharge of the uterus lining, during which the blood and tissues are removed from the body through a biological process. Blood secretion can last up to five days on an average. However, a simple monthly cycle for every woman is different. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the changes in your tenure. (1) (2)

    In this article, we will look at:

    1. What are the types of menstrual problems?
    2. How to diagnose menstrual problems?
    3. How do you treat menstrual problems?
    4. Difference between abnormal periods and painful periods?

    1. What are the types of menstrual problems?

    Menstrual cycles often raise a variety of painful and annoying symptoms before period. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes the most common issues, such as mild cramping and fatigue, but the symptoms gradually go away when the period begins. However, for some women, other more serious menstrual problems can also occur. Menstruation that is too heavy or too light, or the complete absence of a period, may suggest that there are other issues, contributing to an abnormal menstrual cycle. You may have a normal menstrual cycle but the same cycle that is regular for you may be irregular for someone else. It’s important to balance your body and to talk to your doctor if you notice any important changes to your menstrual cycle. (3)

    Period Problems

    There are various types of menstrual problems, including:

    1. Premenstrual Tension (PTT):

    It is also called Premenstrual Tension (PTT), a collection of physical, mental and emotional symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Symptoms and their intensity may vary. Even so, not all women experience PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). The common symptoms are:

    • Swelling
    • Irritability
    • Back pain
    • Headache
    • Breast pains
    • Acne
    • Food cravings
    • Excessive fatigue
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Feelings of stress
    • Insomnia
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal cramps
    • PMS occurs two weeks before your ovulation period starts.

    menstrual problems

    2. Heavy Periods

    It is also called menorrhea or an endocrine disorder. Menorrhea is mostly due to the imbalance in hormonal levels (4):

    • Use of certain drugs
    • Vaginal infection
    • Cervical swelling
    • Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
    • Non-cancerous uterine tumors (fibroids)
    • Changes in diet or exercise

    3. No Periods (Amenorrhea)

    If a woman has not started the menstrual cycle until the age of 16, then she has primary amenorrhea. This can be caused by a problem of the pituitary gland, a congenital defect of the female reproductive system, or delay in puberty. If a woman does not experience ovulation periods of up to six months or longer, then it is called secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea may be caused due to (5):

    • Premature ovarian failure
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease (a fertility infection)
    • Preventing birth control
    • Pregnancy
    • Breastfeeding
    • Menopause

    4. Painful Period (Dysmenorrhea)

    Cramps during PMS are normal. Generally, the inconvenience is light and it decreases in a day or two. Some women feel so much pain that they could not get out of bed. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, fainting headache, or diarrhea may also occur with it. Pain can be due to fibroids, endometriosis (endometrium) or pelvic inflammatory disease. Exercise can help to overcome pain. Non-slip painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, also work. Those who are at an increased risk of dysmenorrhea include (6):

    • Smokers
    • Women who consume alcohol during their period
    • Women who are overweight
    • Women who started menstruating before the age of 11 years

    5. Perpetual Periods


    A period normally lasts for two to seven days, although the average period is five days long. Irregular periods are most common during puberty and just before normal menopause. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can cause irregularity in the period. Hormonal imbalances or contraceptive changes can also cause menstrual cycle problems. If a woman experiences any of the above symptoms consistently during periods or in a cyclical nature during the month, she should visit her gynecologist. Many women think monthly vomiting, painful bowel movement, and excruciatingly painful pelvic and menstrual pain are normal during one’s period but the fact is that these symptoms are not normal during periods. Women should understand their body, and if they experience abnormal pain, they should consult a gynecologist. (7)

    2. How to diagnose menstrual problems?

    gynecologist doctor

    The first step in diagnosing menstrual problems is to see your gynecologist. Share about your symptoms and experience with your doctor and for how long you’ve been experiencing them. You may have more clarity if you visit your doctor prepared with notes on menstrual cycle with information on its regularity, and any symptoms that you have been experiencing. Your doctor can use these notes to analyze the abnormality. (8) After a physical exam, the doctor is likely to do a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam allows the doctor to assess your reproductive organs and to determine if your vagina, ovary or cervix is inflamed. A Pap smear is also performed to eliminate the possibility of cancer or other underlying conditions. Blood tests can help determine hormonal levels that may be causing menstrual problems. If you suspect a pregnancy, your doctor or nurse may perform a blood or urine pregnancy test during your visit. Other tests the doctor may perform to help diagnose the source of your menstrual problems include:

    • Endometrial biopsy- This test involves extraction and analysis of a sample of the uterine lining 
    • Hysteroscopy- In this examination, a small camera is inserted into your uterus to help your doctor find any abnormalities
    • Ultrasound- Ultrasound examination is used to produce digital images of the uterus

    3. How do you treat menstrual problems?

    The type of treatment will depend on the cause of the problems relating to the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills can relieve symptoms of PMS, as well as regulate heavy period flow. If a woman has thyroid or any hormonal disorder that is causing heavier or lighter than normal flow, she may be given hormone supplements to experience more regularity. Dysmenorrhea may be hormone related, but sometime you may also require medical treatment to address the problem, just like, antibiotics are used to treat pelvic inflammatory disease. Discussing your menstruation problems or symptoms with your doctor can help determine what type of treatments can best reduce or relieve your symptoms, including (9):

    • Hormone supplements
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Dietary modifications
    • Antidepressants
    • Regular exercises
    • Vitamin or mineral supplements
    • Diuretics
    • Prostaglandin inhibitors
    • Tranquilizers
    • Surgery

    4. Difference between abnormal periods and painful periods?

    painful period

    Painful menstrual cramping is associated with primary symptoms of abnormal periods. Painful periods can include more than just painful menstrual cramping; therefore abnormal and painful menstruation is listed as two separate symptoms. Abnormal periods, on the other hand, are not just limited to painful periods. It is hardly possible for a woman to experience irregular periods, without her period being particularly painful. She can experience any of the other symptoms of abnormal periods listed above. (10)

    Regular ovulation periods are a sign of a normal functioning body. Women should have regular periods unless they are postmenopausal, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a medical condition that causes periods to stop. Irregular, painful, or heavy periods may be signs of a serious health problem. Irregular periods and extreme pain during periods can make it harder to get pregnant. You can search for a reliable gynecologist to help get your periods more regular or you can contact Elawoman to help you find the best gynecologist in your city. If you are planning to get pregnant, Elawoman also offers counseling services. Call Elawoman now at +918929020600 to book a free appointment with one of the best doctors. 

    Dr. Meenakshi Sauhta

    Written by

    Laparoscopic Surgeon, Gynecologic Surgeon

    Dr. Meenakshi Sauhta is a reliable infertility specialist and laparoscopy surgeon, who provides high success rate in infertility treatments. She has rich years of experience in the field of Gynecology and Infertility Treatments. She is also an expert in Tubectomy, Hysterectomy, Fibroid as well as Cyst Removal. She completed her MBBS and MD from MGIMS under Nagpur University in 1988 and 1994, respectively. She also completed her DGO from the same college in 1990. She is well-known for providing high success rate in infertility treatments as she incorporated modern tools and technology in her practice. She is a highly qualified infertility specialist and a valued member of the Maharashtra Medical Council, Haryana Medical Council, and Indian Medical Association.
    Dr. Meenakshi Sauhta has trained in reputed hospitals under the guidance of talented professionals and is currently working at Max Hospital in Gurgaon. Furthermore, she has received many awards and recognition, some of which are presented by world-renowned organizations. She was elected President of Gurgaon Obstetrics and Gynecological Society In 2013 and was an editor in ObsGyne Update Journal of Gurgaon Society. Dr. Meenakshi Sauhta also received recognition as a super trainer in Adolescent Health Care in IMA Headquarters. She also stood as an Executive Member in Indian Medical Association, Gurgaon. Owing to her three decades of excellence in infertility treatments she is registered under 61102 of Maharashtra Medical Council, 1989 and 3920, Haryana State Medical Council, 2009. She presently associated with Max Hospital in Gurgaon.
    Max Hospital is one of the top fertility hospitals of Gurgaon. The team of doctors at the hospital has treated over 5 lac patients across 25 specialties like Cardiac Sciences, Minimal Access and Laparoscopic Surgery, Urology, Orthopedics, Aesthetics, Neurosciences, and Reconstructive Surgery and Nephrology. The hospital also has a huge accommodation facility with well-furnished and clean rooms. The hospital has state-of-the-art health-care facilities including endoscopy unit, Radiology and pathology diagnostics and other support specialties. Max Hospital strives to give its patients a personalized treatment with full compassion and care. Moreover, The hospital provides the best Pregnancy care and fertility services as per the requirement and budget of patients across different parts of India and world.



    1 Comment


    Granthik Kaushik

    Feb. 20, 2019, 3:13 p.m. 4.5

    Leave a Comment



    The information displayed on this webpage covers general information on several medical conditions, fertility treatments, IVF ICSI, surrogacy procedure, home remedies, and their respective treatments. The exclusive purpose of the displayed information is for the sake of general understanding and it has been collected from open sources which heavily rely on research and laboratory tests. However, the information shared here should not be considered as a medical advice or an alternative to consultation with a registered medical practitioner or licensed healthcare professional.

    It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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