Period Problems

Period problems can affect women of all ages from the beginning of menstruation all the way to perimenopause and menopause. This means that most women will menstruate for around 40 years and can expect to have about 500 period cycles during their lifetime.

Periods can cause issues at any age, but they more commonly affect teenagers and those approaching menopause

Problems can range from lack of regular periods to heavy, frequent and painful periods. There are many causes for these types of issues that warrant investigation and management, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.

Period-related problems are a common reason for time off work or, school, or for visits to the doctor, and may have a significant impact on a woman's quality of life.

Irregular periods

Periods may be irregular in the lead-up to menopause, following childbirth, miscarriage or termination of a pregnancy or in the first few years after they begin. However, some women never establish a regular cycle. Irregular periods can be due to:

  • change in diet – reducing intake
  • sudden weight loss or gain
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormone disorder
  • pregnancy, miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (when a pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tube or somewhere outside the uterus)
  • changing or starting contraception (oral or long-acting)
  • stress.

Absence of periods

Absence of periods (other than in pregnancy) may occur because of a hormonal disturbance caused by factors including weight gain or loss, over-exercising, anxiety or stress, dietary changes and conditions such as PCOS, or pituitary or thyroid disease. This can be temporary, with periods returning after some months. Women with an absence of their period for longer than six months are advised to consult a doctor.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

A heavy period (more than 80ml) can significantly interfere with everyday life. While it is difficult to accurately measure the amount of menstrual blood, having to change your pad, tampon or menstrual cup hourly, needing to change during the night, or having to get thicker pads or larger tampons to contain the blood flow is a good indication that your period is heavy. There are many ways to resolve this problem. Speaking to a doctor about options is the first step to making a huge difference in your life.