What are the Different Types of Menstrual Disorders?

Marjorie McAtee

Menstrual disorders can include premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual periods, or total absence of menstrual periods. Menstrual disorders are considered common, and almost all women are believed to suffer from some form of menstrual disorder at some time during their lives. Not all menstrual disorders are serious, however.

A diagram of the female reproductive system.
A diagram of the female reproductive system.

Painful uterine cramps with menstruation, a condition known as dysmenorrhea, may be one of the most common menstrual disorders. When menstruation beings, the uterus begins to secrete prostaglandins, hormones responsible for prompting uterine contractions. These contractions help the uterus to shed its lining. Many women experience dysmenorrhea, often from their very first period. Dysmenorrhea is not considered serious and usually goes away after or during menstruation.

Painful uterine cramps are a common menstrual disorder.
Painful uterine cramps are a common menstrual disorder.

Get started

Want to automatically save money while you shop online?

Join 3 million Wikibuy users who have found 
$70 million in savings over the last year.

Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is another menstrual disorder thought to be quite common. As many as 75 percent of women are believed to experience at least mild symptoms of PMS regularly. This disorder can cause physical and emotional symptoms that may be related to hormonal changes within the body.

Menstrual cramps are one of the most common symptoms of menstrual disorders.
Menstrual cramps are one of the most common symptoms of menstrual disorders.

Symptoms usually begin about a week before menstruation, and may worsen until menstruation begins, when they usually disappear. Physical symptoms can include tenderness of the breasts, constipation, fatigue, bloating, and headaches. Emotional symptoms may include irritability, depression, mood swings, and trouble concentrating.

Ongoing depression can be a sign of PMDD.
Ongoing depression can be a sign of PMDD.

Amenorrhea, the total absence of a menstrual period, is usually classified into two types, primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea is often diagnosed in girls who have reached the age of 16 without having had a first menstrual period, or menarche. It can be due to endocrine problems, eating disorders, or reproductive deformities. Secondary amenorrhea typically occurs when a woman who normally menstruates fails to menstruate for three to six months. While excessive exercise, stress, illness and reproductive disorders can contribute to amenorrhea, the most common cause is believed to be pregnancy.

Menstrual symptoms typically only last for the first few days of a menstrual period.
Menstrual symptoms typically only last for the first few days of a menstrual period.

Menorrhagia, or heavy menstruation, is usually defined as a menstrual period that lasts longer than seven days, or that produces abnormally large amounts of menstrual blood. Women with menorrhagia sometimes find clots in the menstrual blood. While the normal woman may bleed about one-third of a cup (78.07 milliliters) during the average menstrual period, a woman with menorrhagia might expel 3.3 cups (.78 liters) to 8.3 cups (1.95 liters) of menstrual blood with each period. Causes of menorrhagia can include growths or tumors of the uterus, use of IUDs, certain types of cancer, and hormonal problems.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a mood disorder associated with menstruation that is believed to affect three to eight percent of women. Symptoms can include severe mood swings, anxiety and irritability. Other physical and emotional symptoms, similar to those of PMS but generally far more severe, can occur. These symptoms usually appear about a week before menstruation and have usually receded by the third day after menstruation begins.

One type of abnormal menstrual bleeding is getting menstrual periods too often or sooner than 21 days.
One type of abnormal menstrual bleeding is getting menstrual periods too often or sooner than 21 days.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: