There are a number of different problems women may have with their periods. Most commonly they can be:
- Too heavy
In the UK, the average age for a girl to have her first period is 12 years. The majority of women will bleed for approximately 5 days every 28 days.
There are many reasons why problems could occur including lifestyle issues (stress and weight change), other illnesses (for example, thyroid problems) as well as gynaecological problems (polyps / fibroids / ovarian cysts).
The investigation of period problems usually includes an examination, swabs, pelvic ultrasound and blood tests of hormonal function.
Once the results are available no treatment may be necessary or treatments may be offered to give symptom control.
Pain can be controlled with simple anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen and Mefenamic acid.
Heavy periods may be helped by antifibrinolytics such as Tranexamic acid.
The oral contraceptive pill or other hormonal treatment may be used to regulate periods.
The Mirena coil may also prove extremely helpful.
If an abnormality is found then it may be necessary to carry out exploratory surgery in the form of a hysteroscopy.
A hysteroscopy may be performed under local anaesthetic and involves putting a telescope into the cavity of the womb to examine it more closely. Some treatments such as Myosure may also be used to remove polyps or small fibroids. Novasure to burn the lining of the womb may be extremely effective.
Treatment very much depends on the cause of the problem. Obviously it is important to first check there is no serious underlying problem. Then treatment can be discussed and depends on individual choice. Lifestyle changes may be helpful (diet, exercise, reduction of stress) or medication or surgery may be indicated.