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Menstrual Problems / Irregular Periods

Menstrual irregularities are a common gynecological problem. Usually, they are caused by hormonal imbalances, causing irregular or heavy menses (periods). However, it is important to consult a gynecologist in order to be certain that a more serious problem is not the cause, such as endometrial (uterine) or cervical cancer. Sometimes, something as simple as pregnancy could be the cause of these symptoms, and so it is always important to initially rule out pregnancy, by doing a simple free pregnancy test.

Since hormonal imbalances are the usual cause, the usual treatment is also hormone treatment. The type of treatment is individualized, and will depend on the patient’s history. Usually birth control pills keep the ovaries from under producing or over producing the female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

When estrogen and progesterone are out of balance during the different aspects of the monthly cycle, the effect is that the lining of the uterus is not all shed together and at the same time as is expected during a period. When that happens, the lining keeps building more and more on top of itself. Eventually it gets so thick that it outgrows its own blood supply. Subsequently, with lack of needed blood flow the surface cells die off and shed. This die off and shedding is seen as vaginal bleeding by the patient. Since it is not timed and predictable, this leads to concern and anxiety.

With the use of oral contraceptive birth control pills, the uterus responds by not allowing patchy growth to continue unchecked. All parts of the uterus are in sync with each other, and they all grow and shed together. This leads to stability during the month, and a predictable and simultaneous bleeding episode that exudes the built lining. This event is seen as the predictable and normal monthly menses, or menstrual period.