Menstrual symptoms such as painful periods, heavy bleeding and irregular cycles are all quite common. We may usually assume these symptoms are normal, but did you know that even the most common symptoms can actually mask more concerning health issues such as endometriosis, fibroids or polycystic ovaries or polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Why Then Do We Continue to Ignore Menstrual Symptoms?
Perhaps it is because we assume the symptoms we are experiencing are just part of a normal menstrual cycle. It is true that a certain amount of cramping can be considered as normal and it can be quite difficult to recognize when you are bleeding more than normal. We are too quick to assume nothing is wrong, preferring instead to brush it off and get on with our myriad of tasks (like women before us ‘putting up’). Some GPs, who lack experience in women’s health, are all too happy to go along with this philosophy and dismiss our symptoms as just ‘the way it is’. If this is your experience, then it may be time to see a specialist in order to get the right diagnosis, advice and treatment. We should never feel embarrassed to talk about menstrual problems or make the mistake of assuming we are making a fuss or complaining about nothing. Period symptoms are very common, but we should also consider that whilst these symptoms are indeed common, so are treatable conditions, such as PCOS, endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
When to See a Gynaecologist
Having said all of that, it is worth asking ourselves some questions to see if our cycle could be indicating a treatable gynaecological condition.
- Your period is so irregular that you cannot predict when it will arrive.
- You occasionally miss periods, although are not pregnant.
- You have a cycle which is very short or very long.
- Period pain frequently prevents you from performing your usual activities or interferes with your ability to work or attend social occasions.
- You have very heavy periods, causing you to have to change pads or tampons very frequently or even use both forms of protection at the same time.