There are various types of menstrual disorders, ranging from periods that are too heavy, to ones that are too light. Some menstrual cycles are too short, while others are too long. Some people have periods that are irregular, and others experience spotting in the middle of their cycle.
There are various causes of menstrual disorders, and treatment depends closely on the cause of it. If there’s anything out of the ordinary about your period, check with your doctor to make sure it’s not something serious.
Looking for some basic information about menstruation? Find out more about the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle.
Types of Menstrual Disorders
Keep on reading for some of the details about the various types of menstrual disorders you may experience.
Metrorrhagia (Irregular Bleeding)
One of the common types of menstrual disorders in one characterized by irregular bleeding. These people have no regular menstrual cycle, and may experience spotting between periods.
You can find out more here: Learn more about Metrorrhagia.
Do you find yourself spotting between periods and are in perimenopause? Learn more here: Spotting and Perimenopause.
If you find yourself spending way more than you want to on period protection products for your irregular periods, then check this out. We have a few ideas for eco-friendly, affordable products that’ll help you have your period in style.
Find out here: Cheap Ways to Deal with an Irregular Period.
Menorrhagia (Heavy Bleeding)
One of the most common types of menstrual disorders is very heavy bleeding.
If you experience very heavy (changing a tampon or pad every 1-2 hours for multiples times in a row), you may have Menorrhagia.
There are various causes for this very heavy bleeding, but it occurs most commonly in people who have just started menstruating, or those at the end of their periods (perimenopause).
More information here: Learn about Menorrhagia.
Are you in your 40’s and experiencing this condition? Learn more here: Heavy Periods in Perimenopause.
We recommend using a menstrual cup if you have a very heavy period because they have a capacity 3-4x more than a jumbo tampon. Check out our top-rated high-capacity menstrual cup here:
Menometrorrhagia (Heavy and Irregular Bleeding)
Do you experience both heavy and irregular bleeding? You have a combination of the two types of menstrual disorders that we’ve just mentioned (Menorrhagia + Metrorrhagia).
Learn more about this here: What is Menometrorrhagia?
Learn more about the Types of Menstrual Disorders
Hypomenorrhea (Very Light Periods)
Have you heard those stories of people who didn’t know they were pregnant until the baby popped out of them? One possible cause is hypomenorrhea. During pregnancy, it’s possible to have very, very light periods at the usual time.
There are also other reasons why someone may have light periods. Treatment options depend on the underlying cause, so please see your doctor for help with this.
More details: Learn more about Very Light Periods.
Oligomenorrhea (Infrequent Periods)
Do you have very light or infrequent periods? People with Oligomenorrhea may only have 6-8 periods in a year, instead of the normal 12.
One of the main causes of this condition is lifestyle. People who are engaged in serious exercise, and/or extreme dieting may find that their periods are very light, or infrequent.
However, there are also some medical conditions that can cause this as well.
You can find out more here: Oligomenorrhea Causes and Treatment.
Shorter Periods than Usual
How long people menstruate for varies from 2-8 days. This is not really a cause for concern, unless a very long and/or heavy period is impacting your daily life.
What is concerning is if your bleeding time suddenly changes from say 5 days to 2-3 days for a number of months in a row.
In general, changes to your menstrual cycle are a reason to check in with your doctor. There are some serious reasons why this could be occurring.
Learn more here: My Period is Shorter than Normal.
Amenorrhea (Missed Periods)
There are a number of reasons why someone might miss periods. The most common one is pregnancy. If you are sexually active and see your doctor about a missed period, the first thing they’ll usually do is give you a pregnancy test.
Beyond that, there are a number of others reasons, including some serious ones. People who are in perimenopause (the years before menopoause) may also miss periods until they eventually cease altogether.
Need more information about missed periods? Check out the following:
Crypotemenorrhea (Blockage of Menstrual Flow)
There are some situations in which a person is menstruating like normal, but the flow is blocked. It’s called Cryptomenorrhea. This is a serious condition which requires medical attention.
If someone hasn’t gotten their period by the age of 15, they should see a doctor to see if the cause is a blockage of flow.
There are also cases where a person menstruates normally for years, but the flow is suddenly blocked by some condition. This also requires medical attention.
Find out more here: Crypotemnorrhea Information.
Common Causes of Missed and Irregular Periods
Polymenorrhea (Short Menstrual Cycle)
Do you feel like you’re always on your period? It could be that you have what’s known as Polymenorrhea.
The official definition is a menstrual cycle that is shorter than 21 days. This is compared to the average person with a cycle length of 24-35 days.
There are various treatments for a too short menstrual cycle, but it depends on the underlying cause. Those who are trying to get pregnant may find Polymenorrhea particularly troubling because it can have a serious impact on fertility.
Learn more here: All about Polymenorrhea.
Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods)
Do you have extremely painful periods that impact your normal daily activities?
Primary dysmenorrhea affects about half the population, and about 10% of people severely. It’s also known as menstrual cramps, and isn’t caused by an underlying medical condition.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain that is caused by a disorder in the reproductive organs of some kind. The treatment depends of the condition, so please see your doctor if you experience severe menstrual pain.
More information here: All about Painful Periods.
One of the most common causes of very painful period is endometriosis. It’s when tissue normally found in the uterus grows in other parts of the body, most specifically the reproductive hormones.
The result is usually very painful periods, back pain, heavy or irregular periods, spotting, pain during intercourse and a whole lot of other problems!
There aren’t really any cures for it apart from surgery, but even then, it sometimes doesn’t cure the symptoms completely. You can manage the symptoms with things like diet, hormonal birth control or IUDs, or pain medication.
Learn more it here: Endometriosis Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment.
Perimenopause and Painful Periods
Do you have very painful periods during perimenopause? Or, have menstrual cramps all month? It’s not so uncommon due to changing hormones. More information here:
Light Period with Brown Blood: Is this Normal?
If you have a very light period with brown blood, you may be wondering if this is normal, or not. The most common reason is that menstrual fluid is flowing more slowly for some reason. This allows the blood to be exposed to air and oxidize.
It’s not really a big deal, but it can be in some cases. We recommend checking with your doctor if this is a new development for you.
Learn more here: Light Period With Brown Blood.
I Have Brown Discharge after my Period
Discharge during your menstrual cycle is pretty normal in small quantities.
However, it’s sometimes a a sign of an underlying problem that can be not so serious (yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis), or serious (cancer). Of course, there are a range of problems in between these two extremes that could result in discharge.
Brown discharge after a period is one of the most common situations. Learn more about that here: All about Brown Discharge.
Learn more about Brown Discharge
Many women experience Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), and it’s probably the most common menstrual disorder. It’s characterized by the following symptoms, both emotional and physical:
- Poor concentration
- Social withdrawl
- Tender breast
- Acne flare-ups
There are many possible treatments for PMS, but the treatment mostly depends on the underlying cause of it. Please check with your doctor for the best advice for your specific situation.
Learn more here: PMS Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatments.
PMDD (Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
Some people have a severe, and disabling form of PMS that is known an Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Many of the symptoms are the same as PMS, but a more severe form.
For example, instead of mild depression, you may feel like giving up entirely on life and find no joy in the things you normally like.
Or, you may feel like sleeping all the time, or you may have insomnia.
Instead of mild anxiety, you may not feel like leaving the house and going to work, or school.
As with PMS, there are also various treatment options. However, the one that works for you depends on the underlying cause of PMDD. Please visit your doctor for the best option for you.
More information here: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
Causes of Menstrual Disorders
There are numerous reasons why someone may experience a menstrual disorder. And of course, the reason depends on the type of menstrual disorder in many cases. However, there are a few common reasons that we’ll share with you here.
The menstrual cycle is closely regulated by hormones (estrogen and progesterone). They generally remain in a careful balance, and can change throughout the menstrual cycle, or during pregnancy, when breastfeeding and then when approaching menopause.
There are a number of reasons why you might experience a fluctuation in the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. Treatment will depend on the reason why.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
This is a condition marked by irregularities in periods, along with things like acne, infertility, etc.
Perimenopause is the time period that leads up to menopause. For most people, it lasts from 4-10 years. During this time, the hormones that regulate menstruation begin to fluctuate.
What does this mean? Just about anything can happen to your period!
Beginning of Menstruation
When a person just begin to menstruate, periods can be expected to be quite irregular and/or light and short.
Uterine Fibroids or Polyps
These are unnatural growths on the uterine lining. They can cause very irregular bleeding.
If you’ve just gotten an IUD implanted, and are experiencing irregular bleeding, then you should suspect the IUD. Check with your doctor to make sure everything is okay with it.
In very rare cases, irregular bleeding can be caused by cancer of the reproductive organs, including the cervix. Check with your doctor to rule out this serious possibility.
Pregnancy or Miscarriage
When you become pregnant, periods generally cease. However, in some cases you may still get very light periods.
When you have a miscarriage, it’s possible to experience some very heavy bleeding.
Other Causes for Menstrual Disorders
Depending on the menstrual disorder, there are various other causes. Please check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Menstrual Disorders Treatment
The treatment for menstrual disorders really depends on the cause of it. As you can see from the above list, the causes can range from pregnancy, to a hormonal imbalance to cancer.
Of course there’s no one treatment option that’ll work for everyone with an irregular menstrual cycle!
We recommend checking with your doctor first if you’re experiencing an irregular, or painful period. But, there are also some home remedies for dealing with menstrual disorders that you may want to consider.
Natural Treatments for Irregular Periods
Types of Menstrual Disorders: Have your Say!
Do you have any questions or thoughts about the various types of menstrual disorders? Leave a comment below and let us know.