If your regular menstrual cycles have changed abruptly and Aunt Flo has been missing in action for some months without the possibility of pregnancy, then you may want to consult with an OB GYN and see if you need to undergo a screening for menstrual disorders. Women’s health clinics in Singapore like The Health Advisory Clinic provide screenings that can help determine what condition causes your missed period.
Types of menstrual disorders
There are several types of menstrual disorders. These may be triggered by different factors, such as hormonal changes, stress, being overweight or obesity, and other medical conditions or diseases. Here are some of the most common menstrual disorders affecting women:
Amenorrhea happens when you suddenly stop having your menstrual cycles. Experiencing the absence of menstruation is possible—this can be experienced prior to puberty, during pregnancy, or once you have passed the menopause stage. If your regular period suddenly skipped a month or two and you are neither pregnant nor at the menopausal age, then amenorrhea may be the culprit.
Amenorrhea can be categorized into two kinds:
- Primary amenorrhea
- Secondary amenorrhea
Primary amenorrhea is a condition that is diagnosed among girls who have reached puberty, specifically the age of 16, and have not experienced menstruation. The reason for this can be due to any of the following factors:
- Conditions affecting the ovaries
- Genetic disorders
- Hormonal problem
- Low body weight
- Pituitary gland’s delayed maturity
- Too much exercise
Secondary amenorrhea affects women whose regular periods have stopped all of a sudden for about 3 months or more. This conditions may be caused by:
- A different medical condition or disease, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Issues with the levels of estrogen
One of the most common and painful experiences that women have during their period is menstrual cramps. Getting menstrual cramps is natural as this caused by the contractions in your uterus. However, if the menstrual cramps you experience on a monthly basis is more than you can handle and is already affecting your quality of life, then this may already be a condition called dysmenorrhea. The usual causes of this menstrual disorder are:
- Adenomyosis – a condition that happens when the tissue lining the uterus starts to spread into the muscles of the uterus walls.
- Cervical stenosis – a condition that is caused by an increase of painful pressure inside the uterus as a result of the cervix’s opening inability to allow blood flow due to its small opening.
- Endometriosis – a disease that is identified by a build up of cells outside the uterus. This tissue is akin to the lining of the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease – a bacteria infection transmitted through sexual intercourse that affects a woman’s reproductive organs.
- Uterine fibroids – pain caused by abnormal, but noncancerous growths in the uterus wall.
Having these symptoms should sound raise the red flag that you need to seek medical advice urgently:
- Crippling pain that gets in the way of your daily routine during your period
- Symptoms that only continuous to worsen overtime
- Severe cramps during your period started after you turned 25 years old
Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual bleeding that goes beyond seven days. Your bleeding may also be extremely heavy. Knowing whether your menstrual flow is very heavy can be tricky. To determine this, take note of the following:
- Blood clots that are abnormally large
- Changing of sanitary pads or tampons a couple of times within one or two hours
This kind of bleeding problem may be caused by:
- Conditions or disorders affecting the hormones
- Other medical conditions
- Problems affecting the uterine
You should get immediate medical attention when you experience very heavy bleeding. If this condition is not managed or treated in time, it can cause health complications, such as anemia.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a condition that affects various physical and psychological aspects related to menstruation. PMS is experienced by a lot of women and this condition may interfere with their quality of life. The symptoms of PMS can be different among women, but the most typical signs are:
- Breasts that are tender
- Changes with appetite
- Changes with bowel movement
- Food cravings
- Libido changes
- Mood swings
These symptoms are usually manageable, but if you feel like you are overwhelmed every time you are about to get your period it may be best to seek an advice from a medical practitioner on how you can improve your condition.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is PMS 2.0. This condition is more extreme than the usual PMS that a lot of women experience. Those with PMDD also undergo PMS symptoms, but certain signs like anxiety, mood swings, and irritability are heightened. Women who have been diagnosed with depression or disorders affecting the mood have an increased risk of experiencing PMDD.
Menstrual disorder screening
There are ways to manage and treat menstrual disorders. To begin with, you should consult with your doctor to know what exactly is causing the absence of your menstrual period. An accurate diagnosis can be reached with the help of menstrual disorder screenings. Your doctor may recommend any of these procedures:
- HPV testing – a screening test to check whether you are at risk of developing cervical cancer. The procedure involves using a medical tool called a speculum that is inserted into the vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart as the doctor collects samples of your cervical cells.
- Hormonal blood testing – a procedure where a sample of your blood is collected and tested to see any abnormalities in your hormones that could affect your menstrual cycles.
- Pelvic exam – a procedure where your doctor checks the condition of your pelvic area for any irregularity (i.e. vulva, vagina, cervix, ovaries, uterus, rectum, pelvis).
- Pelvic ultrasound – a diagnostic exam that is non-invasive and involves a powerful machine, called an ultrasound, that takes images of the female pelvic region.
- Pap smear – a screening that is done by collecting cell samples from the cervix and probing them using a microscope.
To know more about menstrual disorder screening, visit The Health Advisory Clinic.
The Health Advisory Clinic
#04-49 One Raffles Place
1 Raffles Place, Singapore 048616
+65 6226 6442