What kinds of problems do women have with their periods?

Many women experience no problems with menstruation throughout their lives but some women may have troubles ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain, irregular periods, or problems with extreme blood loss. Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a somewhat predictable pattern of emotional and physical changes that may be more or less intense from woman to woman. Some women experience other more serious conditions like amenorrhea, which is the absence of a period, or dysmenorrhea which causes severe pain and cramps, or extremely heavy periods called menorraghia. If you experience any irregular symptoms or extreme pain, you should consult your doctor.

Women can have a range of problems with their periods, including pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods.

Amenorrhea— the lack of a menstrual period. This term is used to describe the absence of a period in:

Young women who haven't started menstruating by age 15 Women and girls who haven't had a period for 90 days, even if they haven't been menstruating for long

Causes can include:

Pregnancy Breastfeeding Extreme weight loss Eating disorders Excessive exercising Stress Serious medical conditions in need of treatment

Dysmenorrhea — painful periods, including severe cramps. Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin. Most teens with dysmenorrhea do not have a serious disease, even though the cramps can be severe. In older women, the pain is sometimes caused by a disease or condition such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis.

For some women, using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease their cramps. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms. They include:

Ibuprofen (for instance, Advil, Motrin, Midol Cramp) Ketoprofen (for instance, Orudis KT) Naproxen (for instance, Aleve)

Abnormal uterine bleeding — vaginal bleeding that's different from normal menstrual periods. It includes:

Bleeding between periods Bleeding after sex Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle Bleeding heavier or for more days than normal Bleeding after menopause

Abnormal bleeding can have many causes. Your doctor may start by checking for problems that are most common in your age group. Some of them are not serious and are easy to treat. Others can be more serious. Treatment for abnormal bleeding depends on the cause.

In both teens and women nearing menopause, hormonal changes can cause long periods along with irregular cycles. Even if the cause is hormonal changes, you may be able to get treatment.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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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.