What are the Different Types of Menstruation Disorders?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
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Menstruation disorders are considered common among women and girls of reproductive age. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, may be among the most common menstrual disorders. Other menstruation disorders include amenorrhea, or total absence of a period, which is often considered normal in pregnant women and girls younger than 16 years of age. Oligomenorrhea, which typically occurs when menstrual periods are light or occur irregularly, is also often considered normal in adolescent girls, as well as pre-menopausal women. Other menstruation disorders generally include menorrhagia, or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, and premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD), which often causes disruptive psychological symptoms in the days immediately prior to menstruation.

Many of the menstruation disorders women experience aren't considered cause for concern. Premenstrual disorder (PMS), for instance, probably afflicts most menstruating women at some time in their lives. PMS is believed to be related to the hormonal changes that occur within the body in the week just prior to menstruation. It can cause physical symptoms, including bloating, headache, and fatigue. It can also cause mild psychological and emotional symptoms, such as irritability, tearfulness, and mood swings, though it is considered important to note that the emotional symptoms of PMS usually don't stop the woman from performing her ordinary activities.


Most women experience dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps. These cramps typically occur during the first one to two days of menstrual bleeding. Physicians generally believe that these cramps occur as a normal part of the menstruation process. They are believed to help the uterus shed its lining.

Amenorrhea, or absence of menstrual periods, is normal in adolescent girls younger than 16. Pregnant women may also experience this menstruation disorder without cause for concern. Girls who have not begun to menstruate by the age of 16 are generally advised to seek medical care. Women who fail to menstruate during any given 90 day period are also typically advised to seek medical care.

When menstrual bleeding is irregular and the menstrual flow is considered abnormally light, oligomenorrhea is usually the cause. This condition is common in young girls who have just begun menstruating. It may also appear normally in women who are approaching the age of menopause.

Menorrhagia, or excessively heavy menstrual flow, is generally diagnosed in women who must change their sanitary product more than once an hour for several hours in a row. Women with this condition may menstruate for longer than the average seven days. It may occur in conjunction with abnormal uterine bleeding, generally defined as vaginal bleeding that occurs outside of the context of menstruation. Causes can include uterine fibroids, cancer, uterine deformities, or miscarriage.

Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is, along with PMS, one of the menstruation disorders considered to have a psychological component. The symptoms of PMDD are usually described as similar to those of PMS. PMDD, however, typically causes symptoms so severe that the patient cannot function in daily life while she is experiencing them. Symptoms typically appear during the week prior to menstruation, and usually resolve within the first few days of menstruation.



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