Menstruation Center

Abnormal Menstruation Symptoms

Regular bleeding from the vagina is the primary sign of healthy menstruation. But what other signs and symptoms point to menstrual problems? Read on to learn the difference.

Normal menstruation
During your period, the lining of the uterus and extra blood are shed through the vagina.  Vaginal bleeding is the primary sign of menstruation.  Some women experience additional symptoms around the time of menstruation which are considered normal. Normal symptoms of menstruation include:

  • abdominal bloating
  • abdominal cramps and cramping
  • fatigue
  • food cravings
  • headaches or migraines
  • mood swings and irritability
  • sore breasts

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
If any of the symptoms of normal menstruation are severe, they might be a sign of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  PMS is a group of symptoms that usually occurs one or two weeks before menstruation and are normal during the menstrual cycle. PMS can include both physical and emotional symptoms.  PMS may affect a woman of any age who has menstrual periods. If the symptoms disrupt your lifestyle, you may want to seek medical help.

Abnormal menstruation
Women can experience a range of problems with their periods, including lack of a menstrual period, pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods. It is important to talk to a doctor in cases where your menstrual cycle seems out of whack. Specifically, you should consult your doctor if:

  • You bleed between periods
  • You bleed heavily (soak more than one pad every 1-2 hours)
  • You bleed for more than 7 days
  • You experience severe pain before or during your period
  • You go longer than 3 months between periods
  • Your periods were regular then became irregular
  • Your period suddenly stops
  • You suddenly feel sick after using tampons
  • You haven't started menstruating by age 16

If you are experience severe menstrual symptoms, extreme PMS or symptoms of abnormal menstruation, schedule an appointment to see your doctor.  Read on to learn about the causes of menstrual problems and the diagnostic tests you can request to confirm or exclude possible conditions.  Review how to diagnose menstrual problems in the next section. 

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