Menstrual Cycle Problems: 4 Origins Of An Abnormal Menstrual Cycle

Menstrual cycle problems could cause significant anxiety to many women.

Even subtle menstruation problems may be alarming for some, especially
if they are not yet properly informed about the common cycle problems.

Moreover,
the menstrual cycle could be affected by both psychological and
physical factors such that more anxiety could exacerbate cycle
irregularities.

I have put together in this page some of the key
points which have been helpful in my discussion with women over the
years about issues related to possible disorders of the

Know The Normal Before The Abnormal

This is a basic principle in medical education which I find relevant
here. To better appreciate an abnormal menstrual cycle,it is important
you get familiar with the normal ovulation cycle.


Important points include

  1. Menses
    begin by 11 to 14 years( Menarche) and stop at 45 to 51 years(
    Menopause).Anovulatory cycles and irregular menstrual patterns are
    common within 24 months of menarche.
  2. Menstrual cycle regularly occurs after the cycle length which could be 21 to 35 days.
  3. The duration of the bleeding phase or menstruation is 3 to 10 days.
  4. The amount of blood loss in quantitative terms is about 30 to 80 ml.

Origins

With the features of a normal menstrual cycle in mind, it becomes
relatively easier to comprehend the possible sources of menstrual cycle
problems. In fact I have noticed that most of the common problems women
often present in relation to their cycles could be easily grouped
following the basic features of the normal cycle. These features include

  1. Regularity.
    The cycle should return every month and the most obvious physical sign
    of the entire menstrual cycle is menstrual bleeding. When menstruation
    is absent in situations where it should otherwise be present, it is
    called amenorrhea or absent menses. When it comes too often than normal,
    it is called polymenorrhea. If it does not come as often as it should,
    it is called oligomenorrhea.
  2. Symptoms.
    Normal menses may be accompanied by few, minor symptoms. Menstrual cycle
    problems arise when there is an exaggeration of these symptoms or
    unusual ones. Significant pain during menstruation is called menstrual
    cramps or dysmenorrhea. Premenstrual syndrome occurs when mood,
    behavioral and physical symptoms are present.
  3. Blood quality.
    The menstrual blood should be normal in color, consistency and odor.
    Women often ask about brown or black menstrual blood and the presence of
    menstrual blood clots. Offensive menstrual flow may indicate an
    infection.
  4. Amount of blood loss. Measured
    in “ml” but each woman learns by experience with pads or tampons to know
    what is normal for her. Heavy bleeding is called menorrhagia and scanty
    bleeding is called hypomenorrhea.

Overview Of Common Problems

The discussion above seeks to lay down a simple categorization of the
common menstrual cycle problems women often encounter for better
comprehension. Each category will be presented briefly below. Click the
relevant links to read more about each category.

Amenorrhea

The absence of menstruation
is one of the frequent menstrual cycle problems. Why? Because
pregnancy, a normal condition, is the most frequent cause! Amenorrhea is
basically the absence of menstrual flow. It could be primary or
secondary.

Polymenorrhea and Oligomenorrhea

Polymenorrhea
means many cycles than normal, with cycle lenghts shorter than 21 days.
Oligomenorrhea means fewer cycles because of cycle lengths above 35
days.

Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)

Menstruation cramp

are simply painful periods. They are also one of the

the common menstrual cycle problems.

Premenstrual syndrome ( PMS)

The premenstrual syndrome
is an annoying and bothersome condition. It manifests as physical.mood
and behavioral symptoms in the premenstrual period or luteal phase.

Menstrual blood abnormalities

Though the abnormalities of the menstruation blood
quality are usually the least serious amongst the cycle
problems, they often cause significant anxiety for women. Women are very
sensitive to the color of their menstruum and the presence of clots.

  • Normal menstrual blood could be brown or in some rare cases
    black especially towards the end of menstruation. When blood stays out
    of blood vessels, it changes its color.
  • Blood clots during menstruation could be normal or a sign of disease.

Abnormal uterine bleeding

This
is uterine bleeding that is beyond what is normal, either during
menstrual years or past menopause.There are may possible causes
including hormonal and structural abnormalities. It may present as heavy
menstruation, irregular menses, break through bleeding, mid cycle
bleeding and spotting before period.

After menopause, women can sometimes have abnormal postmenopausal bleeding. This is however not menses!

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