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Reproductive Health Concerns in Females:

MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS

 

What is a painful menstrual period?

Painful menstrual periods are marked by crampy lower abdominal pain. A woman may feel sharp pain that comes and goes, or have dull, aching pain. Painful menstrual periods may also cause back pain. The pain may begin several days before or just at the start of your period. It generally subsides as menstrual bleeding tapers off.
 
 
 

How can painful menstrual periods be managed at home?


The following steps may allow you to avoid prescription medications: (i) Apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen (below the umbilicus). Be careful NOT to fall asleep with it on. (ii) Take warm showers or baths. (iii) Drink warm beverages. (iv) Do light circular massage with your fingertips around your lower abdomen.


(v) Walk or exercise regularly, including pelvic rocking exercises. (vi) Follow a diet rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but low in salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. (vii) Eat light but frequent meals. (viii) Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. (ix) Keep your legs elevated while lying down. Or lie on your side with knees bent.

 

When should a doctor be consulted  for painful menstrual periods?

A doctor may be consulted if self care measures have not relieved the pain for 3 consecutive months or if there is a history of passage of large blood clots. Also occurrence of pain more than 5 days prior to the period and continuation after the period gets over warrants a doctor’s consultation.

What is pre-menstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) involves symptoms that occur in relation to the menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually begin 5 to 11 days before the start of menstruation. Symptoms usually stop when menstruation begins, or shortly thereafter. These symptoms may include headache, swelling of the feet, backache, abdominal cramps, breast tenderness, bloating sensation etc.

What are the causes of PMS?

An exact cause of PMS has not been identified. It occurs more often in women between their late 20s and early 40s, those with at least one child, those with a family history of depression, or women with a past medical history of depression after delivery of first child.

How can pre menstrual syndrome be managed at home?


Self-care methods for managing PMS  include: (i) Regular Exercise – at least  twenty minutes to half an hour everyday, which may include brisk walking or cycling.(ii) Dietary measures: Increased whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and decreased or no salt, sugar and coffee may prove beneficial. (iii) Maintain a daily diary or log to record the type, severity, and duration of symptoms. A "symptom diary" should be kept for a minimum of 3 months. The diary will greatly assist the doctor not only in the accurate diagnosis of PMS, but also with the proposed treatment methods. (iv) It is important to get adequate rest.

When is a heavy menstrual period said to be occurring?

If there is soakage through a sanitary pad every hour for 6 consecutive hours, this is considered a very heavy period.

What are the common causes of heavy menstrual periods?

The common causes of heavy menstrual periods include: (i)Growths on the uterine lining (ii) Unexplained- referred to as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (iii) Thyroid gland problems (iii) Blood clotting disorders. (iv)Intra uterine device. (v) Stress.

What is a prolonged menstrual period?

A prolonged period is one that lasts longer than 7 days.

What are the common causes of prolonged menstrual periods?

Prolonged menstrual periods may result from (i) Ovarian cysts (ii) Sometimes the cause may not be found-referred to as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. (iii)Bleeding disorders and intake of   anti clotting medications. (iv) Stress

What is an irregular menstrual period?

An irregular menstrual period is one in which the duration can vary excessively from cycle to cycle, with the periods occurring too frequently or being separated by an unusually long duration.

Is it normal to have irregular periods during the first few teenage years?

Yes. At first, the menstrual periods typically are irregular. The girl may have 2 months between periods, or may have two periods in 1 month. Over time, they become more regular.

What are the causes of irregular menses?

Menstrual periods that are abnormally frequent can be caused by (i) Endometriosis is a condition of unknown cause that can lead to pelvic pain and frequent bleeding. (iii) Sometimes, the cause of unclear, in which case the woman is said to have dysfunctional uterine bleeding. (iii)Ovarian cysts (iv) Stress.

Is there a cause for worry if bleeding during menses lasts for only 2-4 days instead of the usual 5 days?

No, there is no need to worry. Periods change over time and from cycle to cycle.


What needs to be done in case of Heavy, Prolonged or Irregular Menstrual Periods?

(i) Keep a record of your menstrual cycles, including when menstruation begins and ends, how much flow you have (count numbers of pads used, noting whether they are soaked), and any other symptoms you experience. (ii) Consult a doctor if the problem persists beyond 3 months.

What is absent menstruation?

Absent menstruation refers to appearance of no menstruation by age 16. The Causes may include: (i) Birth defects of the female reproductive system (ii) Lack of an opening in the membrane at the entrance of the vagina (hymen) (iii) Problem with glands in the brain

 

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