Health Hub: No problem. Period.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
No woman looks forward to their period – it’s sometimes jokingly referred to as “the curse” for a reason, after all. For many women and girls, however, those five to seven days every month are no joke. More than 30 percent of women suffer with heavy or irregular menstrual cycles, and more than 80% experience painful periods. “Just as every woman is unique, so, too, are periods,” says John Kim, MD, a Florida Hospital Medical Group gynecologist specializing in menstrual disorders. “Three days, seven days, heavy, light – what is normal for one woman may not be normal for another woman. What we want women to watch out for is when their pre-menstrual symptoms become bothersome, when menstrual bleeding changes in amount and duration, and have spotting/bleeding between periods.”
PMS: Pretty Miserable Situation
Menstrual disorders can be the result of a variety of causes, including physical problems such as endometriosis or fibroids; hormonal imbalances like thyroid dysfunction or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; or hereditary bleeding disorders. Sometimes, however, symptoms of a menstrual disorder go far beyond bleeding. “We’ve all heard of PMS,” Dr. Kim says, “the irritability, moodiness, cramps and bloating some women experience as pre-menstrual syndrome before and during their cycle. But, this, too, is not something to be taken lightly if emotions become extreme.” Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) affects 3 percent to 5 percent of menstruating women and is characterized by severe PMS symptoms around a woman’s menstrual cycle. Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt a woman’s work and relationships.
There’s no reason to suffer.
Women often believe that painful periods are just something to be endured each month and hesitate to bring their concerns to their doctor. But a period should not keep a woman of any age from functioning freely, Dr. Kim says. “Women shouldn’t feel imprisoned by painful, irregular or heavy periods, missing work or school,” he says. “Things like cramps, bloating and PMS can indicate any number of treatable conditions that, if properly diagnosed, can be addressed to give women considerable relief.”
When it’s a problem. Period.
If you have one or a combination of the following symptoms before or during your period, it might indicate a menstrual disorder:
- Absent or Infrequent
- Bleeding or Spotting
- Between Periods
- Debilitating Cramps
- Headaches or
- Heavy Bleeding
- Periods Lasting More than 7 Days
- Spotting Between
John Kim, MD, FACOG is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and specializes in menstrual disorders as well as minimally-invasive laparoscopic and robotic gynecologic surgeries, as well as office-based procedures. Learn more at FHMedicalGroup.com or call (407) 988-2226.
Florida Hospital Medical Group is the Orlando area’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice with more than 425 board-certified physicians and surgeons in more than 40 medical specialties.