How do menstrual problems affect the body?

Different menstrual problems affect the body differently. One type of menstrual problem, menorrhagia (abnormally heavy periods), can contribute to anemia from the loss of iron-rich blood. Another menstrual problem, known as polycystic ovary syndrome, creates a hormone imbalance that can cause cysts to form on the ovaries, a lack of ovulation (and therefore the inability to get pregnant), male physical features in women (such as abundant hair on the body and face) and insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

Several different types of menstrual problems can affect other illnesses in different ways. For example, if you suffer from allergies or other respiratory problems, seizures, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, these conditions may get worse during times of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In some cases, other illnesses can cause menstrual problems. For example, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a sexually transmitted bacterial infection, can cause menstrual cramps and menorrhagia (abnormally heavy periods). Thyroid, kidney and liver disease, some blood-clotting disorders, and cancers of the ovaries, uterus and cervix can also cause unusually heavy menstrual flow.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.