A Brief Look at Menstruation Disorder

Menstruation brings several symptoms along with it, from fatigue to cramps, but certain conditions exacerbate those issues. If you or someone you know suffers from a menstruation disorder, you know the sort of discomfort and disruption they can bring.

Sometimes, learning more about these disorders is the first step toward recognizing and treating your own, so keep reading to get the basics on the most common menstruation disorders.


While many of these conditions focus on what happens during your period, Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. That may mean missing a period or more.

There are some perfectly normal causes of amenorrhea, such as pregnancy. Usually, this is referred to as secondary amenorrhea, since you’ll typically have a regular period without that interfering factor.

If you’re experiencing amenorrhea and you’re not pregnant, breastfeeding, menopausal, or using birth control to skip periods, it’s time to see a doctor. Besides missing periods, amenorrhea may have symptoms such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Pelvic pain
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • And more

Amenorrhea may also accompany other conditions on this list, like PCOS, so you don’t want to skip out on seeing your doctor.

What Can You Do?

You can’t treat amenorrhea without knowing its cause, and treatment options vary widely depending on what triggers it. Some treatment options include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular exercising (but not over or under-exercising)
  • Hormonal treatments or oral contraceptives to restart cycle
  • Surgery if the underlying cause is a tumor or other blockage


If amenorrhea is the absence of period, menorrhagia is too much of it! This condition means you experience particularly heavy or prolonged bleeding. On average, women lose around two to three tablespoons of blood during their period, which lasts four to five days. With menorrhagia, that number shoots up to twice as much blood and periods that last seven days or longer. Extra bleeding or spotting between periods is another sign of the condition

Menorrhagia is a relatively common condition, and it may be caused by:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • IUD devices
  • Fibroids
  • Cancer

What Can You Do?

Heavy periods can leave you feeling run down and exhausted, dizzy, and any number of other unpleasant side effects. Here are a few of the treatment possibilities, depending on the root cause and severity.

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Oral progesterone
  • Hormone-based IUDs
  • NSAIDs
  • Ablation
  • Hysterectomy

Anovulatory Bleeding

Anovulatory bleeding is often called abnormal uterine bleeding and basically means that you experience non-cyclical or irregular bleeding. During anovulation, your body doesn’t release an egg during the menstrual cycle, so this condition often leads to infertility.

If you fall into one of these categories or experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment.

  • You’ve just started getting periods
  • You’re in perimenopause
  • You have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • You have a low BMI
  • You experience irregular periods or get no periods
  • You experience very heavy or light periods

What Can You Do?

Anovulatory bleeding is often caused by different types of hormonal imbalances. Luckily, there are several treatment options available. 

  • Stress management
  • Weight management (gaining weight for low BMI)
  • Hormonal treatment (hCG injections, FSH injections, GnRH injections, etc.)


Most women experience certain levels of discomfort and pain during menstruation as the uterus contracts to shed its lining, but dysmenorrhea signifies very painful periods. Usually, that means frequent or intense cramping, dizziness, headaches, and pain that spread to different parts of your body (like your hips or lower back).

In other words, it takes all the not-so-fun parts of a period and makes them worse. It begins a few days before your period starts and may leave you feeling severe pain in different parts of your abdomen, back, and thighs.

What Can You Do?

Try these methods of alleviating dysmenorrhea and the associated pain.

  • Pain relievers (NSAIDs or acetaminophen)
  • Heating pads and blankets
  • Regular exercise and stretching

See your doctor if your menstrual pain is severe or interfering with your daily life.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

You’ve likely already heard of PMS or experienced it yourself. It’s so common that most women think it always goes hand-in-hand with everyone’s period, but that isn’t necessarily the case. PMS occurs after ovulation but before you get your period, and it has a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional effects.

  • Mood changes
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Problems with sleep
  • And so much more!

When PMS kicks in, it may also worsen other conditions like anxiety, IBS, bladder conditions, and others. If it feels like your whole body is falling apart during PMS, just know that you’re not alone!

What Can You Do?

PMS is common, but that means there are also a lot of treatments out there, including many you’re likely already familiar with.

  • Pain relievers
  • Regular exercise
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Oral contraceptives/birth control
  • Eat healthy foods and drink enough water
  • Diuretics

If you’ve tried the usual remedies and nothing seems to work, speak with your doctor for other solutions!

Premenstrual Dysphoric Syndrome (PMDD)

PMS is rough, but PMDD is its bigger, tougher sister that drags you down every month. PMDD is the more severe form of PMS, so take all of the above symptoms and kick them up a notch (or five). PMDD may cause:

  • Mood changes
  • Fluid retention
  • Vision changes
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hot flashes
  • And the list goes on!

What Can You Do?

The symptom list for PMDD is impressive (although not in a good way), and those who suffer from it may not all experience the same things in the same way. That makes it tough to find treatments, but there are some good options out there.

  • Healthy diet and exercise
  • Birth control
  • SSRIs (speak to your doctor if you experience psychological or emotional symptoms with PMDD)
  • Vitamins and supplements (calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, etc.)
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications


Oligomenorrhea can be similar to amenorrhea, but it isn’t the same. It’s marked by irregular and unpredictable periods. You can expect your period around the same time each month, like clockwork. With oligomenorrhea, it’s more like a dice roll. You might get a period once a month for three months, then not see another one for two months.

It’s caused by numerous different things, including PCOS, prolactinomas, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, eating disorders, and more.

What Can You Do?

Like amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea can’t be treated until the cause is found. Some options include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Vitamins and supplements for deficiencies
  • Birth control
  • Surgical removal or treatment of interfering tumors

Final Thoughts

Menstrual cycles are complex and sometimes everything does not go as expected. While menstrual disorders are common, that doesn’t mean you have to just deal with them without help. Speak to your healthcare provider if something is “off” so you can begin a treatment journey and learn to live more easily with your cycle. Maeves will be there along the way to support your light days, heavy days, and everything in between.






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