Some women are fortunate that their monthly cycle comes and goes without too much upset or disruption. Women who have regular periods know what to expect and can set their expectations accordingly. For others, this is not always the case, as there are a variety of different menstrual disorders that some women can suffer from.
One of the most common conditions that can accompany the menstrual cycle is premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. This is a very common blend of emotional and physical symptoms that affects almost all women to some extent. For some, the symptoms are very mild and do not stop them functioning normally, however for 20 per cent of women, the side effects of PMS can be temporarily debilitating and can have a serious impact on their lives.
Typically, PMS symptoms occur any time in the two weeks prior to a woman’s period arriving, sometimes even just a day or so before the bleeding starts. The symptoms of PMS can include irritability, mood swings, lethargy, tender or slightly enlarged breasts, pain the abdominal region, feeling bloated and loss of libido.
If PMS is very common, what about less well known disorders?
Broadly speaking, a menstrual disorder classes as anything that disrupts a woman’s normal monthly cycle. This can result in symptoms such as:
- Heavier or longer than normal periods
- Irregular periods
- Lighter (or missing) periods
- Painful abdominal cramps
Examples of less common menstrual disorders include stomach cramps that are much more painful than those typically associated with PMS, (a condition known as dysmenorrhea), serious irregularities of when women experience bleeding (known as abnormal uterine bleeding, or AUB). AUB can result in heavier than normal period flow, lighter than normal or sometimes can cause bleeding between normal periods.
Although most menstrual disorders bring with them additional symptoms, the absence of periods altogether is also a cause for concern and is a condition known as amenorrhea. Absence of periods is expected at certain times of tour life, such as during pregnancy and once you have been through the menopause, however if you are experiencing unexpected amenorrhea during childbearing years then it is important to speak to your GP about this for a referral to a consultant gynaecologist, such as Mr Nitish Narvekar, who specialises in menstrual disorders.
If you have previously had periods and these have stopped for three months or more (and you’ve checked you’re not pregnant) then this could be caused by factors such as stress, weight loss/gain, hormonal changes or as a side effect of another underlying condition.
To arrange a consultation with Mr Narvekar, call his private secretary D Loziak on 020 3793 8769 or fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch.