Feb 2021

Understanding Menstrual Disorders

  • By: Samantha Denäe

Within your menstrual cycle there are some irregularities that can occur causing a menstrual disorder with a host of symptoms. As someone who was diagnosed with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and Dysmenorrhea, dealing with a disorder on top of Endometriosis can be extremely tough. Below we list the four menstrual disorders and their differences.  

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Those uncomfortable symptoms that disturbs your entire day or normal function during your cycle are considered PMS. The symptoms can vary from hours to days and the symptoms you may experience such as, headaches, fluid retention, irritability, fainting, decreased coordination and more, are based upon each individual. Some may suffer from a more severe form of PMS, called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD. Ensuring you get adequate rest, regularly exercising, and eating better can help with reducing the severity of your PMS or PMDD.


  • Dysmenorrhea: Described as recurrent and severe menstrual cramps and pain that is associated with menstruation. Some symptoms associated with Dysmenorrhea are nausea, cramping or pain in the lower abdomen, low back or pain shooting down the leg, and vomiting. There are two types of Dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary Dysmenorrhea is when a person experiences uterine contractions that are abnormal and is typically caused from an imbalance in the body. Secondary Dysmenorrhea can be caused by other medical conditions like Endometriosis,  Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), fibroids, or an abnormal pregnancy. 


  • Amenorrhea: When your period has been absent for longer than three monthly cycles, you could be suffering from Amenorrhea. Amenorrhea can occur due to medications or other medical issues, like a birth defect, obesity, or a thyroid disorder. Just like Dysmenorrhea, there are two types of Amenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary Amenorrhea is when a child at puberty age (16 years or older) does not begin menstruation. Secondary Amenorrhea is when periods that are considered normal and regular become gradually absent, abnormal, and/or irregular and could be caused by something of a physical nature.


  • Menorrhagia: The most common kind of abnormal uterine bleeding with heavy and lengthy menstrual bleeding. Some causes of Menorrhagia are tumors in the pelvic cavity, liver, kidney or thyroid disease, bleeding/platelet disorders, and hormonal imbalance. Symptoms include spotting or bleeding in between periods or during pregnancy and soaking and needing to change a sanitary pad every hour. There are four types of Menorrhagia: Polymenorrhea, Oligomenorrhea, Metrorrhagia, and Postmenopausal bleeding. Polymenorrhea is when a person has a too many frequent menstruations. Oligomenorrhea is when a person has a menstrual cycle that is light or sporadic. Metrorrhagia is when a person has irregular or menstrual bleeding not associated with your period, so this could occur in between your period, and Postmenopausal bleeding is when bleeding occurs more than a year following your last normal menstrual period at menopause.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have not been diagnosed with a menstrual disorder you may need to consult your doctor. It could help explain any pain you’re dealing with. 

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