Although we know it’s necessary, monthly periods can be quite a nuisance for some. There are the lucky ones who don’t get to experience much discomfort and whose periods only last for a few days. Other women aren’t so lucky. While bloating and cramps are perfectly normal, these symptoms can interfere with work, school, and other daily activities.
And while there are certain medications that you can take to ease the discomfort, there are times when the symptoms become too intense to ignore. They can be a sign of something more serious. Here are some menstrual issues that may indicate an underlying health issue that may be potentially dangerous when ignored.
Severe Symptoms to Watch Out for
Spotting in Between Periods
Bleeding during your period is fine. However, seeing blood in your underwear in between cycles isn’t. It may not necessarily indicate a serious problem but it is indeed a sign of an irregular menstrual cycle. Light spotting is normal if you’re newly pregnant or have just started taking a certain type of birth control. If the latter is causing it, you might need to consult your OB GYN, who would likely advise you to switch to a different type.
Spotting is normal during the early stages of pregnancy and is referred to as implantation bleeding. This happens around 10-14 days after conception and will go away on its own. Not everyone will experience it but it’s completely normal. Aside from those two, spotting in between periods can also be caused by something harmless such as a benign cervical or uterine polyp.
However, if you are neither taking birth controls or pregnant, heavy spotting in between periods can be caused by something serious. It can be a symptom of PID or pelvic inflammatory disease which can also cause chronic pelvic pain and infertility if left untreated. And although rare, it can also be a sign of cervical cancer. If you’re experiencing heavy spotting in between periods along with other alarming symptoms, it may be time to schedule a visit to your doctor.
Not Having Your Period for a Few Months
Your period stops while you’re pregnant. When you’re in your 40s or 50s you may also go through perimenopause. During this stage, your period slows down and becomes less frequent until it stops. However, if you’re neither of the two, not having your period for at least 90 days is not normal. Going through three months without having your period is known as amenorrhea.
If you’re going through certain types of treatments or taking certain medications such as chemotherapy, antipsychotics, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, birth control pills, and some allergy medications, the absence of your period can be a mere side effect.
Amenorrhea can also be caused by certain lifestyle factors such as stress and malnutrition. It can also be a symptom of hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance can be caused by several underlying medical problems such as thyroid malfunction, pituitary tumors, and PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
A combination of proper nutrition, regular exercise, enough sleep, and hormone therapy can correct these issues. A study also suggests that taking safe doses of folic acid and Myo-Inositol can help manage PCOS. If you’re suffering from PCOS, taking Purisure’s Myo-Inositol supplements can be beneficial for you. These come in capsule and powder form so you can choose which one is more convenient for you. However, before you self-medicate, it is best to consult with your doctor first, especially if you are taking other types of medicine to avoid dangerous interactions.
Some women do experience a heavy flow from time to time. It is often normal. However, if you find yourself needing to change pads or tampons every hour or less, it may not be a good sign. And while seeing blood clots in your pads or in the toilet when you change is normal, they shouldn’t be any bigger than a quarter. Most importantly, a heavy flow shouldn’t last for more than 7 days.
These symptoms can be caused by several factors and health issues. The most common ones being cervical polyps and uterine fibroids. Sometimes it can also be due to a disorder in the endometrial tissue lining known as uterine adenomyosis. Compared to amenorrhea, the effects of excessive bleeding are more abrupt as they can result in iron deficiency anemia.
Unbearable Pain from Cramps
The level of pain is hard to gauge as each one of us have our own different level of tolerance. And in general menstrual cramping and dysmenorrhea is relatively normal. This type of menstrual pain is caused by a sudden surge of the hormone prostaglandin. Your body signals production of this hormone to help activate your pelvic muscles so they can effectively shed uterine lining.
The pain can be felt in your lower abdomen, thighs, and on your back. This can go on during the first or second day of your period and should go away in the following days. However, if it exceeds that period and if the level of pain is unbearable, it may be caused by certain conditions such as adenomyosis, fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. If this happens often, please consult your gynecologist.
How a Normal Period Should Feel Like
Again, before we discuss this, it is important to note that everyone is unique and may have different experiences with menstruation. For some women, it is normal to have a heavy flow for a week while some only bleed for a few. Some experience intense cramping while some may not experience this at all.
However, once you’ve reached your reproductive maturity, your periods should be predictable. They may not occur at the same exact time every month but it should be present at all times. Stress and certain lifestyle changes can cause you to miss a cycle or two and that’s completely okay, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
Periods can last from two days to a week and occur at least 21 days apart. Symptoms like bloating, PMS, intense food cravings, mood swings, cramps, and others are normal. However, if some symptoms reach a level of intensity that can prevent you from going through your normal daily routine, it may be a good thing to pay more attention to those symptoms. It can be a sign of a serious underlying cause.
Oftentimes it’s just your body’s way of telling you to pay more attention to it. It may be time for a lifestyle change. Just stay calm and know that you are always in control. And if your symptoms are caused by something worrisome, always know that when it comes to serious medical problems, early detection can make a world of a difference.
Happy Women’s Month!