4 Menstrual cycle Disorder
The onset of puberty in females specifically ushers in menstruation. It prepares a woman for the reproductive stage. The absence of menses could be an indicator of pregnancy or disease. Most women do experience some disorders at the onset or during menstruation. Most of these disorders are normal while others are not.
Menstruation can also be called menses. It is known as a shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus. This blood escapes from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina. A menstrual cycle spans twenty-one days to thirty-five days. An average cycle spans twenty-eight days.
The following are disorders that women experience in regard to the menstrual cycle.
1. Mittelschmerz: This is the feeling of slight pains in the lower abdomen usually at one side. It occurs on ovulation date or near ovulation date. This pain occurs especially when the right side of the ovary is involved. There is no treatment for it as it occurs occasionally.
2. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): These are symptoms that a woman feels four to five days prior to menses. They usually disappear on the second or first day of menstruation. Premenstrual syndrome varies in women and also varies as each cycle begins. Its causes over the years have not been identified. Premenstrual Symptoms are grouped into physical and behavioural/psychological symptoms.
a.Physical symptoms include heaviness of the abdomen, breast tenderness, increase in breast size, weight gain, insomnia (lack of sleep), headache, pains in the breast, backache, and waist pain.
b. Behavioural/Psychological Symptoms include depression, nervousness, mood swing, crying, anger, confusion, inability to function well at the workplace, and withdrawal from social activities.
Dealing with Premenstrual syndrome
a. Women who experience premenstrual syndrome are encouraged to expect these physical and behavioural/psychological symptoms every month.
b. Women should always write or chart PMS as it comes. This will help them understand their body and set up strategies to cope with PMS.
c. She should discuss PMS for that month with spouse/partner and family members to gain an understanding of her changes.
d. PMS may affect a woman’s interpersonal relationship negatively. The woman should reduce stressful work at this time.
e. Nutritious diet like fruits, vegetables and enough water should be taken during this period. It is also advisable to reduce the intake of sugary food, and fatty food and increase exercise before menstruation.
f. Partner and spouse are encouraged to give support who need assistance. Ibuprofen can be taken to relieve the backache and headache.
Dysmenorrhea is known as the pain experienced during menstruation. There are two major types of dysmenorrhea: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea.
a. Primary dysmenorrhea: This is pains that sets in as menstruation begins and the pains last for the first twenty-four hours. In most women, the pain ends around 25 years, and after giving birth to a child. Primary dysmenorrhea comes with cramps, fever, vomiting and a nauseatic feeling. Research has it that the excretion of prostaglandins in excess causes the painful contraction of the uterus. Pain relievers like ibuprofen should be taken to ease the pain.
b. Secondary dysmenorrhea: This is extreme and constant pain that a woman may experience two days before menstruation begins. It continues after the first day and continues till the period ends. Pains extend from the abdomen to the thighs. It is a clear symptom of a disease. In this case, medical personnel should be consulted.
4. Irregular Bleeding Pattern: This covers amenorrhea and menorrhagia
Amenorrhea: This is the cessation or absence of a period. It is considered primary when a child (girl) above 15 or 16 years does not menstruate but has shown other signs of puberty. This might be caused by some genetic factors, body makeup, and abnormalities in body development. A doctor (gynaecologist) should be met for proper examination and treatment.
It is also considered secondary amenorrhea if menses cease for a period of 3-6 months after several years of the normal menstrual cycle. It can be caused by pregnancy, too much exercise, stress, poor eating habit, and emotional upset.
Note: Female athletes experience secondary amenorrhea. In this case, a doctor should be consulted.
Menorrhagia: This is excessive bleeding or blood flow during menstrual flow. It can be caused by a growth in the uterus or hormonal balance. It could be a symptom of fibroid cancer or gynaecological problems. It leads to anaemia. It is caused by a dysfunction in the endocrine hormone.
Conclusion: The attention of a gynaecologist should be needed in a severe case of irregular bleeding pattern and severe pains.