Menstrual disorders are changes in normal period. Changes may be short or long term.
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Menstruation (period) is one part of a cycle in woman. A cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding to the first day of the next period. It is about 28 days, though 21-35 days is considered normal.
The cycle is run by a change in hormones. The rise and fall of hormones progesterone and estrogen cause a period to happen. When they rise they cause a thickening of the lining of the uterus. When they fall, the lining breaks down and passes out of the body. This is what causes bleeding. Bleeding often lasts from 3 to 5 days. However, 7 days is still considered normal.
This cycle will happen each month starting from about age 12 years old to an average age of 51 years old. The cycle normally only ends with pregnancy or menopause.
Most women lose about 2 ounces of blood or less. Menorrhagia is a loss of more blood than normal. This happens if there is a high volume of blood or a period that lasts more than seven days. It can be caused by hormone changes or physical problems. The loss of blood can lead to anemia and other health problems.
Girls may not start to have their period when expected. This is called primary amenorrhea. It is diagnosed if one of the following happen:
Periods may also stop after they have already started. It is called secondary amenorrhea when a period is absent for at least three cycles. It may be caused by:
Amenorrhea can lead to other problems such as a decrease in bone density. It can cause a higher risk of osteoporosis.
Less common problems include:
This in-depth report focuses on menorrhagia and amenorrhea.
Abnormal uterine bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T361089/Abnormal-uterine-bleeding. Updated October 10, 2019. Accessed October 29, 2019.
Amenorrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/abnormal-uterine-bleeding. Updated January 16, 2018. Accessed October 29, 2019.
Bleeding Disorders in Women. Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/index.html. Updated April 25, 2018. Accessed October 29, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardBeverly Siegal, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 10/29/2019