Polymenorrhea is the medical term to describe a menstrual cycle shorter than 21 days. It’s less commonly known as Polymenia.
Usually for an adult woman, a normal menstrual cycle is between 24 and 38 days long. Occasionally, a day or two outside thing range may occur and it’s nothing to worry about. However, if your regular cycle is, then check in with your family physician.
Having shorter menstruation cycles can be normal for some women. However, for others, it can be caused by certain medical conditions. And since ovulation can occur sooner than expected or during a period, this disorder can also affect fertility.
Those with polymenorrhea may find their periods are unpredictable or irregular.
It’s one of the more common kinds of abnormal menstruation.
Here are some of the most common causes of Polymenorrhea:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Misuse of birth control pills
- Endometriol Hyperplasia
- Lack of ovulation
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about why you may have Polymenorrhea.
Causes of Polymenorrhea
As we said earlier, it is natural for some women to have shorter menstruation cycle. Sometimes, it’s not a sign or symptom of polymenorrhea.
However, this needs to be examined by a doctor in order to be sure of it. This is especially true if the condition is causing problems with fertility and interfering with a woman’s daily social and work life.
Here are some of the most common underlying causes that potentially lead to polymenorrhea:
#1: Infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Polymenorrhea can be caused by infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Those with chlamydia may experience severe vaginal discharge and abdominal pain.
Gonorrhea can be accompanied by other symptoms such as intense itchiness in the vaginal area as well as extreme burning sensation during urination and vaginal discharge.
Thankfully, both these conditions can be treated with antibiotics. It is imperative to diagnose and treat infections as soon as possible before they cause a number of serious health problems for the patient later on.
Stress is one of the common causes for polymenorrhea and other menstrual disorders. Stress can affect the hormonal balance in the human body.
However, it is a mild cause which can be treated. Many women are able to lessen their chances of getting polymenorrhea, if they address the causes of their stress and also practice stress-alleviating exercises. Other than this, there are other medications that can deal with stress.
Menopause describes a time when a woman’s menstruation cycle permanently stops. It’s usually implied by when a woman goes through almost a year without a single menstrual cycle. This typically occurs in women in their late 40s or early 50s.
Before it gets to perimenopause, a woman’s body experiences vast changes in her hormones that results in hot flashes, mood swings, depression, and menstrual abnormalities that include polymenorrhea itself. These symptoms can interrupt your sleep, affect emotional health and decrease your energy. But there are various treatments from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy that are available.
Endometriosis is an excruciating disorder in which the tissue or cells that line the inside of the uterus, or endometrium, grows on the outside and is found in other areas such as the ovaries or the fallopian tubes.
When the tissue has no where else to go in your body, it becomes trapped on the inside, allowing it to thicken, break down and bleed with each menstrual cycle. As a result, a woman experiences heavy and painful periods, as well as during intercourse, spotting in between periods and menstrual cycle abnormalities. Medications and/or surgery can treat endometriosis.
#5: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) when a woman’s reproductive organs are infected. In this disease, the pelvic is in the lower abdomen along with the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus and the cervix.
Various types of bacteria lead to PID such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are the common STDs that are linked with polymenorrhea. The bacteria first enters through the vagina and causes the infection and eventually, the infection moves into the pelvic organs.
#6: Misuse of Birth Control Pills
When taken correctly, birth control pills should ensure that you have a very regular menstrual cycle. The length of the cycle depends on the kind of pills you’re taking.
However, misusing them (taking them for too long, or not long enough) can cause of all kinds of wacky things to happen to your hormones, including a menstrual cycle that is either too long, or too short.
Another reason for an irregular menstrual cycle is when you stop taking birth control. The next few months can be characterized by irregularity as your body seeks to stabilize itself.
#7: Endometriol Hyperplasia
This condition results in elevated levels of estrogen, and decreased levels of progesterone. This can cause irregular periods, including a short menstrual cycle.
#8: Lack of Ovulation
Not ovulating (known as anovulation) can cause a shorter cycle. No egg being released means that progesterone is not produced by the body, and the endometrium begins to shed. It may seem like a period, but it’s more like breakthrough bleeding.
Some causes for lack of ovulation include PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), perimenopause, breastfeeding, stress or nutritional deficiencies.
PCOS can cause short menstrual cycles, long menstrual cycles or almost constant bleeding. This is caused by hormonal imbalances, lack of ovulation, or a thick endometrium lining.
Other Causes of Polymenorrhea
There are other causes that result in women getting polymenorrhea, which include hyperactivity of the anterior pituitary gland that causes frequent ovulation, malnutrition, psychological disturbances and a very rare, but likely chance of cancer in the female reproductive organs.
Medical Definition of Polymenorrhea
According to Mosby’s medical dictionary, the definition of Polymenorrhea is,
“An abnormally frequent recurrence of the menstrual cycle. Also called polymenia.”
Treatment for Polymenorrhea
Treating the disorder polymenorrhea depends on the underlying cause that leads to it. And if the causes have been identified, the symptoms will likely subside. Only by isolating the cause of the disorder can a proper treatment be administered for it. The only way to know this is to check in with your doctor.
However, there are times for when there is no underlying cause and the woman might not even need any treatment. If a patient has polymenorrhea, but isn’t trying to conceive, then contraceptive pills are an excellent option to extend her cycle.
You could also consider some menstrual disorder natural remedies that might help regulate your menstrual cycle.
See your Doctor if you Have Periods Too Frequently
The best advice we can give is to check in with your doctor if you have too frequent periods. There are some serious underlying conditions that can cause this. And there are also some complications that can result from it, including anemia.
Complications of Polymenorrhea
Frequent and heavy bleeding leads to anemia in some women who have polymenorrhea. This is when your blood lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells.
The symptoms for this condition include difficulty in concentration and memory, fatigue, lightheadedness, low energy levels, temporary shortness of breath with exertion and pale skin. Upon experiencing any of these symptoms, go visit your doctor for medical treatment.
Polymenorrhea Weight Gain
Some women even experience fluid retention and bloating during their menstrual cycles. Some may even complain of weight gain as a result of these frequent periods.
Do people really gain weight due to shorter menstrual cycles? In many cases, it’s due to fluid retention and bloating, and not an additional of actual fat or muscle. It’s just that this fluid retention is happening more frequently than normal for most people with regular menstrual cycles.
However, one possible reason for weight gain with Polymenorrhea is PMS cravings. Some people eat lots of sweet or salty foods before their period. If this is the case for you, and you have frequent periods, you may find yourself putting on a few extra pounds.
Outlook for Short Menstrual Cycles
Overall, polymenorrhea causes great discomfort and inconvenience. It also causes problems with fertility and one’s way of life. And even though there are many causes to it, the disorder can be treated mostly.
In the end, it is important you visit your doctor so they may identify the underlying cause to polymenorrhea and advise the proper treatment for it.
Polymenorrhea and Pregnancy
Women with polymenorrhea may find it harder to get pregnant, but it can still happen. There are two reasons why this may be the case:
#1: Irregular Ovulation
Ovulation might occur sooner than expected and can be unpredictable. Namely, it can occur at different times a month. To make this simpler, many women feel it necessary to keep track of their ovulation with ovulation tests.
You can try tracking your period as well. However, people with this condition may find it difficult to do.
#2: Time Between Bleeding is Short
The time between bleeding (the luteal phase) and ovulation is too short for fertilization and implantation to happen. Women can resort to using contraceptive pills to further increase their luteal phase, but it can prevent the occurence of ovulation. Put simply, it will be very hard for women to conceive.
Fortunately, there are numerous medications that certified doctors can prescribe to boost their fertility. In many cases, women with short luteal phases can indeed get pregnant. The key is to check with your doctor about your particular situation.
Polymenorrhea vs Metrorrhagia
These two menstrual disorders commonly get mixed up. They both have names that are hard to remember, but that’s where the similarities end!
Polymenorrhea means a short, but regular menstrual cycle. Basically, the time between bleeding is less than 21 days.
On the other hand, Metrorrhagia means irregular menstrual bleeding, particularly bleeding at unexpected times in the menstrual cycle. There is no pattern to this bleeding and it’s just at random.
You can learn more about it here: Metrorrhagia Causes and Treatments.
Polymenorrhea: Have your Say
Any questions or comments about these short menstrual cycles? Or, would you like to share your experiences?
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