What are Menstrual Disorders?
Menstrual disorders are problems with a woman?s period. There may be pain during periods, unusual bleeding or irregular periods.
What causes them?
There are many causes of menstrual problems. You may have a hormonal imbalance. You may have suddenly changed your diet or exercise. You may be stressed or have an infection. Sometimes there is a problem with an organ in the body. Sometimes there is a problem with blood clotting. Sometimes a medication can cause them. Often tests are needed to find out why.
What does it feel like?
Some people don't feel their abnormal periods, but others do. You may have very painful cramps, migraines, mood changes, or leg aches during parts of your period.
What can I do?
Get good health care!
- Keep a period calendar: It is hard to find the pattern of how you feel during your periods without a calendar to look at. Be sure to bring it to your appointment.
- Work with your health professional to find out the cause and treatment of your problem.
- Try a heating pad, a hot bath, go for a walk, or have some soothing herbal tea for painful cramps. Heat can be as good as medications like ibuprofen.
- Aromatherapy with or without massage: May reduce how many days a period is painful, if used daily. Try lavender, clary sage, and marjoram. Try a gentle belly massage with oil. Take a look at the Aromatherapy handout for instructions on how to use these oils.
- Go get Acupressure or Acupuncture done: Works well for pain control.
- Watch what you eat and drink: Some causes of painful cramps and mood changes may be helped by eating a nutritious diet and eating less sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Studies show that following the anti-inflammatory diet leads to feeling better and is well-balanced.
Exercise regularly. Exercise can help painful cramps. It lowers stress, improves mood, and can stabilize weight. However, excessive exercise without a nutritious diet can cause periods to stop (this could be a sign of an eating disorder). Plan for 30-60 minutes a day of physical activity that is enjoyable for you.
- Try meditation: Yoga, breathing methods, meditation, and acupuncture can help you manage stress better.
- Get regular sleep: Sleep is a time for the body to heal and relax. Giving your body and mind the time and space to refresh is vital to feeling well.
Supplements for painful periods:
- Ginger: Taking ginger several times a day may decrease pain.
- Fenugreek: Taking fenugreek during your period may help with pain.
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1): Take 100mg a day to lessen pain and mood changes.
- Calcium: might help with painful periods.
- Vitex or Chastetree berry is an herbal medicine which can help some people with menstrual symptoms.
Concerning symptoms: See a medical provider for very heavy periods (>1 heavy pad or tampon per hour for several hours) or long periods (>8 days). Pain that stops normal activity, irregular bleeding, or feeling weak, short of breath, or blood clots greater than an inch are concerning.
Heavy menstrual bleeding: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/basics/ definition/con-20021959
Abdollahifard S, Rahmanian Koshkaki A, Moazamiyanfar R. The effects of vitamin B1 on ameliorating the premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Glob J Health Sci. 2014;6(6):144-53. PMID: 25363099.
Dennehy CE. The use of herbs and dietary supplements in gynecology: An Evidence-based review. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2006;51(6):402-9.
"Dysmenorrhea." Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Oct 4, 2016. Therapeutic Research Faculty. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com.ezproxy2.library.arizona.edu/nd/Search.aspx?cs=CEPDA&drg=1&s=ND&pt=&sh=3&fs=ND#7. Igwea SE, Tabansi-Ochuogu CS, Abaraogu UO. TENS and heat therapy for pain relief and quality of life improvement in individuals with primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016;24:86-91. PMID: 27502806.
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"Patient education: Heavy periods (The Basics)." UpToDate. Topic 15420, Version 4.0. Oct 5, 2016. https://www-uptodate-com.ezproxy4.library.arizona.edu/contents/heavy-periods-the-basics?source=see_link.
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Patient Education Materials
- Allergic Rhinitis
- Back Pain
- Biofeedback Therapy/Training
- Breathing Techniques
- Elimination Diet
- Healthy Diet
- Healthy Weight / Obesity
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Physical Activity
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Tai Chi