A menstrual disorder is an emotional or physical problem that interferes with a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing pain, unusual bleeding, delayed menarche, or missed periods. Menstrual disorders can be triggered by a myriad of factors including hormone imbalances, genetics, clotting disorders, or pelvic diseases.
Different menstrual disorders can lead to problems that range from heavy, painful periods all the way to a total absence of periods. Although menstrual patterns vary, there is cause for concern when the starting dates of periods begin less than 21 days – or more than 3 months – apart, or last longer than 10 days. These symptoms often indicate other concerns.
The following is a list of the most common menstrual disorders.
Dysmenorrhea is the term for severe and frequent cramping during menstruation. Pain occurs in the lower abdomen but can spread to the thighs and lower back. Dysmenorrhea is referred to as either primary or secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by menstruation. The cramps occur from contractions within the uterus and are usually more severe during heavy bleeding.
Secondary dysmenorrhea accompanies another medical or physical condition, such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
Menorrhagia is the medical term for significantly heavier periods and can be caused by a number of factors. During a normal cycle, the average woman loses about one ounce (30 mL) of blood. Menorrhagia also indicates menstrual flow that lasts longer and is heavier than normal. The bleeding occurs at regular intervals and usually lasts over seven days. Women suffering from menorrhagia tend to lose over 80 mL of blood – more than twice the typical amount. Menorrhagia is often accompanied by dysmenorrhea because passing large blood clots can cause painful cramping.
Menorrhagia is a type of abnormal uterine bleeding. Other types of abnormal bleeding include:
- Metrorrhagia: bleeding that occurs at irregular intervals and with variable amounts. The bleeding occurs between periods or is unrelated to periods.
- Menometrorrhagia is heavy and prolonged bleeding that occurs at irregular intervals. Combines features of menorrhagia and metrorrhagia; the bleeding can occur at the time of menstruation or between periods.
- Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: abnormal uterine bleeding that usually refers to extra/excessive bleeding caused by hormonal problems, namely lack of ovulation. Occurs most often to girls who begin to menstruate and women who approach menopause.
- Bleeding after intercourse and after menopause is also considered abnormal.
Misdiagnosis of Menstrual Disorders
Symptoms of mild menstrual irregularities can often be confused with symptoms of more serious conditions such as uterine cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ovarian cysts. These conditions can be detrimental or even fatal if left untreated. Moreover, untreated menstrual irregularities can lead to complications such as infertility and osteoporosis. It is therefore vital for women with symptoms of menstrual irregularities to take action immediately and seek proper diagnosis.
A Case of Dysmenorrhea
I believe that homeopathy is an effective way to treat menstrual disorders. Homeopathic remedies, if prescribed professionally, can address the underlying issues that lead to menstrual complications, and ultimately remove disorders and bring physical health.
A 23-year-old woman came to my office with the chief complaint of dysmenorrhea. She said she was a very quiet person and shy sometimes. She was also pretty laid back and liked to help people. She moved to Canada three years ago, but didn’t like living in the city as she sometimes felt alone or left out. She also felt she had self-esteem issues and got depressed around her menstrual period.
During menstruation she experienced sudden pains so intense that she could not move. She would often vomit. To relieve the pain, she would bend forward on a pillow, but the relief lasted only a few seconds. Her body temperature changed every few minutes from too hot to very cold. She also felt bloated and itchy on her face.
Diagnosis and first follow-up – Based on the patient’s physical and mental symptoms, the homeopathic remedy Sumbulus 200K was indicated. After 4 weeks of taking the remedy, the patient returned for a followup, at which point it was observed that her period had become lighter, the pain was less intense and less frequent, but she still vomited a lot. As well, fluctuating body temperatures had levelled out, but there was still nausea and loss of appetite present.
Second follow-up (4 weeks later) – The patient’s body temperature fluctuations had decreased, as had the degree of pain (down to a four or five). The duration of her pain also decreased, from five hours to two hours. The pain felt worse at home than at work. Her nausea continued. Her feeling of bloatedness was much less and the facial itchiness also decreased. Remedy prescribed: Sumbul 1M
Third follow-up (a month later) – This time, after taking the remedy her pain changed. Instead of a sudden onset, the pain came on slowly so she could go home immediately. The symptoms started with her feeling cold and losing appetite, then sharp pain. She had lots of dreams, including many recurring ones. Her energy level improved, her feeling of weakness was gone. Remedy: Sumbul 1M
Fourth follow-up (a month later) – her pain had improved drastically; now on a scale from 1 to 10, her pain was down to a 1. She said she was crying all the time during her period, but this was from happiness. For example, it was a relief to be able to watch television, as she could not have imagined doing that before. There was no nausea, no hot and cold sensations, no cutting pains, no knee weakness, even her acne was less this time. She believed that her period pain was now normal. Remedy: Sumbul 1M
A Case of Metrorrhagia
A 44-year-old woman came to my office with the chief complain of metrorrhagia. In the interview she said she was shy and introverted, and that she didn’t like to be the centre of attention. She often felt embarrassed, forgot what she wanted to say, and had a fear of people judging her. She had lost her job after a difficult time there.
She said that her period lasted for more than 10 days. A year ago she got her period frequently and it was very heavy. At the time of seeing me, her periods were regular but very heavy. Sometimes she had cramps, backaches, and headaches with severe pain in her ovaries. The colour was dark red with clots towards the end of the period. Based on her symptom picture, I selected the remedy Calc-nit 200C.
First follow-up: At this point the patient commented: “After the remedy I had trouble controlling my behaviour. I fought with my sister and was really annoyed by her when she showed up to my house unexpectedly. My sister and I have a passive-aggressive relationship with each other. Last month, I had lots of cramps but didn’t get my period. I saw some spots and had some bleeding in between my periods.” Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M.
Second follow-up (a month later) – She reported that after taking the remedy she got her period, along with severe cramps and backache. The colour was burgundy, with clotting. The flow was heavy and when she exercised the flow increased. She said that she used to have eczema on her finger, right after her period. The eczema came back for a week, then went away. She said that she kept eating as if she would never get full. At her work, it was very busy and very stressful, but she felt she had a new confidence. Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M.
Third follow-up (a month later) – She said that she got sick with flu-like symptoms after taking the remedy, a fever, and no energy. As well, her allergies restarted. Her appetite was returning to normal. Her period was heavy for the first two days, then normal, and lasted seven days. This time she didn’t get bleeding between periods. Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M.
Fourth follow-up (a month later) – After taking the remedy she got her period; it was heavy for four days and lasted for a whole week, but she didn’t have bleeding in between. She was coughing and sneezing for at least 10 days. She said that work was very stressful, and she was being forgetful and unorganized. Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M + Kali-phos tissue salt.
Fifth follow-up (2 months later) – Patient reported that her period was on time and very light, with no bleeding in between. She reported that her memory was much improved so she was not taking the tissue salt regularly. Her job was still stressful, but she was proud of herself because she handled it professionally. Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M.
Sixth follow-up (2 months later) – As instructed, she waited 20 days to take the next remedy. Her period was fine, not heavy and no bleeding in between. She also reported that she had eaten shellfish at a party, which she was usually allergic to, but she had no reaction. Her stress level was a lot lower and her libido improved. Remedy: wait.
Seventh follow-up (4 months later) – At this point the patient commented: “During the past four months things were fine in terms of my period, but I think I need my remedy now. I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the past week; I wake up around 2:30 am and toss and turn for the rest of the night. Last week I had lobster for dinner and felt itchy for two days. I also developed shoulder pain because of all the stress at work. For the past two weeks I feel as though I have no energy.” Remedy prescribed: Calc-nit 1M