A woman's period usually occurs every 28 days, however, when it is between 21 - 35 days, it can still be considered normal. The average menstrual period should last between 4 - 7 days meaning what is termed 'normal' can vary from one woman to another.
Nevertheless, some exceptional occurrences suggest that you may have some menstrual abnormalities such as periods being too light, too heavy, lasting too long, occurring more frequently than usual, irregular, or experiencing unbearable pain when having your period.
There are different types of menstrual abnormalities which are:
- Amenorrhea: This is described as an absence of period for more than 90 days or 3 months.
- Dysmenorrhea: This is characterized by severe pain and cramps associated with menstruation. It sometimes may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or even fainting
- Menorrhagia: This is dysfunctional uterine bleeding that is usually prolonged and heavy. It can also be in form of:
- Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent or light periods
- Polymenorrhea: Too frequent periods
- Metrorrhagia: Irregular bleeding which occurs between menstrual periods.
Causes of Menstrual Abnormalities
- Stress: Vigorous exercise and daily routines can have an impact on your menstrual cycle
- Birth control pills: The use of pills to prevent pregnancy keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs. Going on or off birth control pills can affect menstruation.
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Uterine Polyps or Fibroid: These are non-cancerous growths on the uterus which causes pain or heavy bleeding
- Endometriosis: This happens when the uterine tissues grow outside the uterus which may cause an abnormal or painful period
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This is a bacterial infection that affects the female reproductive system
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: This is a condition where the uterus makes more male hormones and disrupts the menstrual cycle
- Uterine Cancer
Knowing the cause of the menstrual abnormality is the first step towards management or treatment because most treatment options depend on the underlying causes.
Here are common treatment options;
- Lifestyle changes which include exercising moderately and eating nutritional meals
- Practice stress reduction techniques
- Change your sanitary pad or tampon regularly to avoid infection
- Medication: The use of some medications can help manage these abnormalities once the cause is known
You may need to speak to a healthcare expert for accurate diagnosis and management.