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14 Period Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore: Signs You Should Visit A Doctor

Getting your period is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you don't have to worry about accidental blood stains anymore. But on the other hand, you have to go through 5 to 7 days of mini hell before you can live carefree once more.

On average, a woman's cycle lasts 28 days, and her period lasts three to five days. However, this may vary from woman to woman. It is considered normal for some women to have three days of menstruation. The length of the period may extend up to seven days in cases of heavier periods.

Symptoms associated with periods include cramps, mood swings, and breast tenderness. In most cases, mild symptoms can be expected, but severe or unusual symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor [1].

Moreover, there are several reasons why some women miss their periods, and it is not limited to pregnancy. Stress, weight gain, vigorous exercise, hormonal imbalance, medication, thyroid disorder, and mental illness are among the factors that contribute to menstrual problems and must not be ignored.

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Period Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Women may suffer from unbearable cramping, uncontrolled bleeding, and PMS-like symptoms due to a variety of health concerns. If ignored, these severe menstrual problems may result in other health complications. Keeping healthy means watching one's weight, exercising and staying active, using safe contraceptive methods, and eating the appropriate diet [2][3].

There may be certain side effects for some women due to their family history of diseases such as anaemia, polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these menstrual problems, it is best to consult a physician [4]. The gynaecologist will be able to prescribe medications that will eventually resolve the problem.

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1. Heavy Bleeding

Changing the sanitary napkin or tampon every two hours indicates excessive bleeding. One should not ignore uncontrollable bleeding during menses because it can lead to other complications, such as menorrhagia. You might also experience anaemia-related symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, along with heavy bleeding. It also indicates a hormonal imbalance, fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, bleeding disorders, an IUD (intrauterine device), pregnancy complications and cancer [5][6].

Other factors that cause heavier blood flow are given below:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Miscarriage
  • Usage of blood thinners or steroids
  • Uterus cancer
  • A change in birth control pills
  • Also, changing your sanitary napkins every few hours is a sign that you are bleeding abnormally heavily. Visit your doctor, if you are having persistent heavy flow.

    2. Spotting

    Blood spotting between periods should not be ignored. The cause of this spotting may be the result of a uterine cyst or polyp, fibroids, an infection (such as bacterial vaginosis) or precancerous growth. Visiting a physician to determine the cause of the problem is a must [7].

    3. Periods Last For More Than 7 Days

    A period lasting for more than 7 to 10 days is not normal. It is medically known as menorrhagia. This problem should be looked into as menorrhagia is an indication of abnormal growth in the uterus.

    4. When Menses Have Stopped

    If menses don't begin at the age of 16, this problem is called primary amenorrhea. And, if the menses have started at the right age but the cycle has skipped for more than 3 months, this menstrual problem is called secondary amenorrhea. Primary and secondary amenorrhea can be treated with medications depending on the physical condition of the woman, and this treatment should not be ignored [8].

    5. Severe Cramps/Pain

    Having painful menstrual cramps is normal during menstruation. But most women have unbearable menstrual cramps that they are unable to get out of bed. Painful periods are called dysmenorrhea which is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, headache, vomiting, and pain in the lower back. Endometriosis and fibroids can also be the cause of painful periods [9].

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6. Bleeding In Between

Bleeding in between your periods is a period trouble a woman shouldn't ignore. An irritated sore in the vaginal area or maybe forgetting to take a birth control pill or uterus cancer can be the cause [10].

7. Large Blood Clots

Women experiencing large blood clots during their heavy periods means they are either suffering from hyperthyroidism, symptomatic anaemia, or uterine fibroids. You need to visit a gynaecologist if you have large blood clots.

8. Skipped Periods

Some forms of birth control, excessive exercise, and stress can disrupt the menstrual cycle and cause irregular periods. A person's period may resume as usual the following month if the cause is temporary. When a woman is pregnant, her periods may cease and may not resume until she is finished breastfeeding [11].

9. Breast Tenderness

It is common to experience mild breast tenderness during a period. Changes in hormone levels are likely to be responsible for the discomfort. Occasionally, there is a pain in the armpit near the tissue known as the Tail of the Spence. A woman should consult her physician, however, if breast tenderness is severe, occurs at other times of the menstrual cycle, or accompanies any other symptoms, such as a lump or other changes in the breast [12].

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10. Diarrhoea/Vomiting

Some women experience nausea or diarrhoea around or during their periods. This may be due to the release of chemicals called prostaglandins from the uterus, which may result in diarrhoea, nausea, and light-headedness. Consult your doctor if diarrhoea or vomiting is severe or an unusual period symptom [13].

11. Mood Changes

Many women experience a combination of symptoms following their ovulation and before they begin their period, of physical and emotional symptoms [14]. Collectively, these symptoms are known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Low mood is a common symptom of PMS caused by changes in levels of oestrogen and progesterone. It is important to understand that severe changes in mood, which may prevent a person from carrying out daily activities, may indicate a premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Typically, people with this issue benefit from a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.

12. Migraine

Four out of ten females experience a migraine headache at some point, and about half of the time, the headache occurs during a period. It is possible to experience this type of pain if hormonal changes caused by the menstrual cycle affect brain chemicals. Women who suffer from migraines should consult their physicians. Although migraines do not have a cure, there are a number of treatments that can manage the symptoms and help prevent migraines [15].

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13. Unusual Consistency

A period's consistency may vary from the beginning to the end of the period, with a heavier flow at the beginning of the period, becoming lighter towards its conclusion. People who experience abnormal menstrual blood consistency should see their doctor if the consistency is different from the normal consistency. The presence of pink, watery, or unusually thick menstrual blood may indicate an underlying condition, such as menorrhagia [16].

14. Slowed Down Periods

The cause of a missing menstrual period is called amenorrhea which varies by age. For a woman who is sexually active in her 20's or 30's, getting pregnant is always a possibility. On the other hand, women who are in their 40s or 50s could be in perimenopause (it is the period surrounding menopause). This is caused when the ovaries produce less oestrogen, and the period becomes less frequent [17].

Once the periods stop for full 12 months in a row, that means you are in menopause. The average age for menopause is 51. Excessive exercise can also be the cause of missed periods. Female athletes who work out so hard that they stop getting their periods. This is also common among ballet dancers and runners. Intense workout training affects the production and regulation of reproductive hormones involved in the menstrual cycle [18][19].

Other possible causes of missed periods could be:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Breastfeeding
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Obesity
  • Disorder of the hypothalamus
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Stress
  • A disease of the uterus
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When Should You Visit A Doctor?

Any period trouble that you are having isn't normal, especially if it is making you uncomfortable or stops you from doing normal activities - it's time to check with your doctor. You can visit your doctor if you experience the following [20]:

  • Your periods have suddenly become irregular.
  • Your period comes more often than every 21 days.
  • Your bleeding continues for more than 7 days.
  • Each hour your sanitary napkin is soaking wet, and you need to change it.
  • Painful periods.
  • Bleeding in between your periods.
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On A Final Note…

During a period, serious or unusual health issues may indicate a hormonal imbalance or underlying condition. Lifestyle adjustments, home care, or professional treatment may be required. Talk to your doctor if you experience severe discomfort.