Menstruation (a period) is bleeding from the vagina that happens around once a month. Having a period is a natural part of life but people experience different symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms can become a problem and interfere with your life.
Some common period problems include:
- Painful periods – most women have some pain with their periods but if it interferes with your normal everyday life, you should see a doctor. Hormonal contraception such as the contraceptive pill or the hormonal IUD (Mirena/Kyleena) often help with more severe period pain. Severe period pain may also be a symptom of endometriosis, which is where the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
- Heavy periods – heavy bleeding during your periods can be caused by things including a hormonal imbalance, problems with blood clotting or uterine growths such as polyps and fibroids. If you period is so heavy it interferes with your normal everyday life you should see a doctor.
- Bleeding between periods, after sex or after menopause can be caused by changed in hormone levels, hormonal contraception or contraceptive devices such as the contraceptive pill or IUD, infection or injury.
- Periods not starting
- Periods stopping – causes include pregnancy, stress, weight loss, exercising too much and hormonal problems.
- Irregular periods – it’s normal to have irregular periods, particularly for a few years after puberty and before menopause. Lifestyle issues such as weight loss or gain, exercise or stress can also cause irregular periods. Very irregular periods can be a sign of polycycstic ovary syndrome.
- Premenstrual syndrome: a range of symptoms many women experience in the days leading up to their period, including irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, bloating, tiredness and weight gain. A more severe form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
You should see a doctor if you experience a change in your regular bleeding patters, including heavier bleeding, bleeding in between periods, bleeding during or after sex, increased abdominal pain or migraines.
Your doctor will investigate the cause of your period problems, which may involve blood tests, swabs and ultrasounds.
Treatment depends on the cause of your period problems and can include hormonal treatments, including hormonal contraception to stop ovulation, lifestyle advice and medication.
We can help assess and diagnose period problems, and work with you to create a treatment or management plan.
If you need assistance, advice or treatment for period problems or any other sexual or reproductive health issue, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.
This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.
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