Menstrual disorders are one of the commonest reasons for women consulting their general practitioner and for subsequent referral to a gynaecologist. There is great variation in the problems that individual women experience.
Younger women / teenagers may have a delay in their first period – primary amenorrhoea – or have unusually heavy periods. Primary amenorrhoea may be due to abnormally high or low levels of certain hormones, to chromosomal abnormalities or physical anomalies in the reproductive organs such as uterus and vagina. Very heavy periods in young women may be the first sign that they have a blood clotting disorder.
Some women who have previously had a regular period stop having them – this is called secondary amenorrhoea and the most common reason for is in fact pregnancy. However, there may be a hormonal reason, it may be due to sudden weight loss or an increase in stress or occasionally a tumour interfering with the control of the menstrual cycle.
Having very irregular periods is termed oligomenorrhoea.