Managing Menstrual Problems

Menstrual Problems are Common and Varied, but Highly Treatable
Menstrual Disorders

Menstrual problems are disorders that affect a woman’s normal menstrual cycle. Ranging from heavy bleeding, intense cramps and skipped periods, these conditions are often disruptive to a woman’s daily life or even her health.

What’s a Normal Menstrual Period?

A menstrual cycle refers to a series of monthly changes a woman experiences as her body prepares for a possible pregnancy. In a normal menstrual cycle, each month one of the ovaries will release a mature egg, which will travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus to await fertilization. At the same time, hormones cause the uterine lining (endometrium) to thicken in order for the fertilized egg to be implanted comfortably into the womb. If fertilization does not occur, the uterine lining is shed and expelled from the body through the process of menstruation.

The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of the period up to the first day of the next period, varies from woman to woman. On average, a period occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts 2 to 7 days. However, it is common and normal for a woman to have shorter or longer cycles.

Any major changes in the frequency, amount of blood flow, and symptoms of a period may indicate menstrual problems which need to be resolved immediately.

Dr Ann Tan is a gynaeoclogist of over 20 years, dedicated to helping women transition smoothly between every stage in their lives.

As girls enter puberty and start menstruating, a gynaecological assessment is highly recommended.

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4 Common Menstrual Problems

Many women will experience menstrual problems at some point in their lives, the most common of which are:

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

This is an umbrella term for a range of physical and emotional symptoms that a woman experiences before her period. Symptoms in varying intensities include bloating, mood swings, anxiety, headaches, breast tenderness, fatigue and depression. These usually begin one week before the period and go away once it starts. While the exact cause of PMS remains unknown, the condition is often attributed to cyclical hormonal fluctuations.

1
Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods)

This condition refers to menstrual bleeding that is so heavy that it interferes with the woman’s normal activities. With menorrhagia, periods may last for more than 7 days, and the woman may soak through tampons or sanitary pads every hour for several consecutive hours. Untreated, it can lead to anaemia, shortness of breath, fatigue and pain. Menorrhagia is said to be caused by hormonal imbalance, fibroids, cancer or other medical conditions.

2
Amenorrhea (Absent Periods)

The opposite of menorrhagia, amenorrhea is the condition where either a woman hasn’t had her first period by 16 years old, or a woman’s period abruptly stops for three months or longer. However, it is normal for a woman to have amenorrhea before puberty, during pregnancy and after menopause. Causes include hormonal imbalance, premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and genetic disorders. Some medications, particularly contraception, can also cause irregular or missed periods.

3
Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)

Typically caused by uterine contractions, dysmenorrhea refers to periods where the woman experiences persistent and debilitating cramps, as well as back or abdominal pain. In more serious cases, symptoms include diarrhoea, light-headedness and fatigue. Dysmenorrhea may also be caused by stress, fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory diseases. Remember, while menstrual cramps are normal, they should not be extreme and unmanageable.

4
Menstrual disorders are often uncomfortable and distressing.

At Women Fertility and Fetal Centre, we are committed to ensuring you receive personalised and effective treatments, so that you may regain good health and quality of life again.

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Diagnosing Menstrual Problems

In order to properly diagnose the type of menstrual condition that you have, your gynaecologist may perform a combination of these tests:

  • Medical History Assessment
  • Physical and Pelvic Exams
  • Imaging Tests (e.g. Ultrasound)
  • Lab Tests (e.g. Blood Tests)
  • Menstrual Cycle Tracking
Treating Menstrual Problems

The type of treatment will depend on what’s causing the problems with your menstrual cycle.

Some cases – such as heavy periods, irregular periods and PMS – may be alleviated by taking contraceptive pills. In other cases where normal menstrual flow is disrupted by a thyroid or hormone issue, hormone treatments may be required.

Should the root cause of the menstrual problem be other underlying medical conditions (e.g. endometriosis, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease), those conditions will be promptly targeted for treatment, whether through medical or surgical options.

The cessation of menstruation, known as menopause, will require special menopause treatment.

Dr Ann Tan
Specialist Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
MBBS (Singapore), FRCOG (London), M Med (O & G), FAM (Singapore)
“I think taking care of women was definitely my calling in life. Each patient brings with them something new and different, and it is my privilege to care for them.”

With over 20 years caring for women’s reproductive health and their pregnancies, Dr Ann Tan is no doubt a fervent advocate for women’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

An experienced obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Tan is keenly aware of the ups and downs of what pregnancy and childbirth brings, and strives to support postpartum women as they recover so that they can enjoy motherhood as well as possible.

Speak to Our Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Contact Information

3 Mount Elizabeth #11-12
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre,
Singapore 228510

Tel : +65 6734 8188
Fax : +65 6262 0330
Email : mail@dranntan.com
WhatsApp : +65 8318 9757 (for appointment booking)

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