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A menstrual disorder is an abnormal condition in a woman's menstrual cycle.
Disorders of ovulation
Disorders of ovulation include oligoovulation and anovulation:
- Oligoovulation is infrequent or irregular ovulation (usually defined as cycles of ≥36 days or <8 cycles a year)
- Anovulation is absence of ovulation when it would be normally expected (in a post-menarchal, premenopausal woman). Anovulation usually manifests itself as irregularity of menstrual periods, that is, unpredictable variability of intervals, duration, or bleeding. Anovulation can also cause cessation of periods (secondary amenorrhea) or excessive bleeding (dysfunctional uterine bleeding).
Disorders of cycle length
Polymenorrhea is the medical term for cycles with intervals of 21 days or fewer.
Irregular menstruation is where there is variation in menstrual cycle length of more than approximately eight days for a woman. The term metrorrhagia is often used for irregular menstruation that occurs between the expected menstrual periods.
Oligomenorrhea is the medical term for infrequent, often light menstrual periods (intervals exceeding 35 days).
Amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age. Physiologic states of amenorrhoea are seen during pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding). Outside of the reproductive years there is absence of menses during childhood and after menopause.
Disorders of flow
Abnormal uterine bleeding is a general category that includes any bleeding from menstrual or nonmenstrual causes. Hypomenorrhea is abnormally light menstrual periods. Menorrhagia (meno = prolonged, rrhagia = excessive flow/discharge) is an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period. Metrorrhagia is bleeding at irregular times, especially outside the expected intervals of the menstrual cycle. If there is excessive menstrual and uterine bleeding other than that caused by menstruation, menometrorrhagia (meno = prolonged, metro = time, rrhagia = excessive flow/discharge) may be diagnosed. Causes may be due to abnormal blood clotting, disruption of normal hormonal regulation of periods or disorders of the endometrial lining of the uterus. Depending upon the cause, it may be associated with abnormally painful periods.
Dysmenorrhea (or dysmenorrhoea), cramps or painful menstruation, involves menstrual periods that are accompanied by either sharp, intermittent pain or dull, aching pain, usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ovarian cysts