In many traditional cultures including our own, menstruation is considered as a time of cleansing and regeneration and therefore a time to celebrate. But, today’s woman begs to differ. For her, it represents anything from an irritation she can’t shake off to outright distress. Spanning 28 days, the menstrual cycle is a carefully choreographed dance of hormones from beginning to end by the endocrine system.
Menstrual disorders are problems that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. They include painful cramps during bleeding, abnormally heavy bleeding or the absence of any bleeding. Menstruation, also called a period occurs during the years of puberty and menopause. It is the monthly flow of blood from the uterus through the cervix and out through the vagina. The endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus, thickens during pregnancy to house and nourish the growing fetus. If pregnancy doesn’t occur the endometrium is shed and a woman starts menstruating.
There are numerous menstrual disorders, ranging from heavy, painful periods, no periods at all to light or infrequent periods to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Also, there are many variations in menstrual patterns. But, in general women should be concerned when periods occur fewer than 21 days or after more than 3 months or if they last more than 10 days. Such events indicate ovulation problems or some other medical conditions.
Painful Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
When girls first begin to menstruate their cycles are not regular for several years. Periods may occur every 3 weeks in some women and every 5 weeks in other. Menstrual flow varies too and can be heavy or light. Skipping a period followed by a heavy flow is not unusual and this is most likely due to missed ovulation and not to be fretted about.
It is a severe, frequent cramping during menstruation. Pain occurs in the lower abdomen but, can spread to lower back and thighs. It is of two kinds: primary and secondary. When cramps occur due to the contractions of the uterus it is called primary Dysmenorrhea. The pain is usually more severe during heavy bleeding. Secondary Dysmenorrhea is menstrual related pain accompanied by other medical or physical condition, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
Heavy Bleeding (Menorrhagia)
Menorrhagia is a medical term for significantly heavy bleeding. It is a type of uterine bleeding. The menstrual flow lasts longer and is heavier than normal. During a normal menstrual cycle the average woman loses 30 ml of blood and most women change their pads or tampons 3-6 times a day. But, heavy bleeding can last longer than 7 days and women lose an excessive, more than 80 ml of blood. It often goes along with painful cramps because passing large clots of blood can cause painful cramping.
Absence of Menstruation (Amenorrhea)
No menstruation or absence of menstruation is of two kinds: Primary and secondary Amenorrhea. These refer to the time when the menstruation stops.
When a girl doesn’t begin to menstruate by age 16 she should be evaluated for primary Amenorrhea. Secondary Amenorrhea occurs when periods that were once regular stop for at least 3 months.
Light or Infrequent Periods (Oligomenorrhea)
Infrequent menstrual cycles, greater than 35 days apart are considered as oligomenorrhea. This usually isn’t a medical problem and is common in early adolescence. Periods may occur every 3 weeks in some women and every 5 weeks on other. Then, menstrual flow also varies from heavy to light and skipping a period followed by a heavy flow is not unusual. This is most likely due to a missed ovulation than any medical problem and not to be fretted about.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
This is a set of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that occur during the week before menstruation in most cycles. These usually resolve within 4 days after the bleeding begins. PMS symptoms might show up anytime during a woman’s reproductive years but, usually occur in their late 20s to early 40s. Once the symptoms set in they remain fairly constant until menopause, though they can be slight variations from cycle to cycle.
Causes and Risks
Hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, clotting disorders and pelvic diseases are among few key factors that trigger menstrual disorders. And, age plays a key role too. Girls who begin menstruating at 11 years of age are at higher risk for severe pain, longer periods and longer menstrual cycles. Adolescents may develop absence of menstruation (Amenorrhea) before their ovulation cycles become regular. And women approaching menopause (perimenopause) may also miss periods have episodes of heavy bleeding.
Excessive weight or underweight can increase the risk of painful cramps or no periods. Women with higher number of pregnancies are prone to heavy bleeding while women who never gave birth are prone to bouts of painful cramps. And smoking increases the risk of heavy bleeding while stress may cause temporary absence of periods.
Homeopathy is very effective in treatment of menstrual disorders without any harmful side effects. Menstruation being a physiological process needn’t be painful. And any occurrence of pain during periods should be treated. Women needlessly pop in painkillers thinking it normal – which is not – to numb pain during every menstrual cycle. Self medication is not advised. Consult a qualified homeopath, who is always in a better position to prescribe the potencies and the repetition of remedies.
Homeopathic treatment doesn’t involve the use of any hormones therefore the medicines are not habit forming. They work by reviving the body’s inner healing mechanism which helps the body to rebalance itself to restore healing to the affected areas of the body.