Polymenorrhea is a term for irregular menstrual cycles which are short. This can occur naturally but it is a symptom of an underlying problem in some situations.
This article discusses what the disorder is, why it occurs, therapies and its pregnancy relationship.
What is polymenorrhea?
Polymenorrhea describes why menstrual cycles in a person are normal in terms of blood flow rate, but occur in periods of less than 21 days.
A normal menstrual cycle lasts from 21–35 days, with bleeding ranging from 2–6 days, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bleeding occurs when a person has a cycle. The average blood loss volume is, according to another study, 20–80 milliliters (ml).
A medical professional considers a person’s cycle to be irregular if the length of the cycle is significantly varies. If the person is not pregnant, a medical professional may describe this as’ anomalous uterine bleeding’
Having more frequent periods and shorter cycles than usual could mean polymenorrhea for a person. Some people may also become aware of this when they are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant.
If a person experiences any other symptoms which may indicate an underlying condition, a doctor should be consulted.
Relation to pregnancy
People suffering from polymenorrhea may find it harder to become pregnant.
Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the ovaries. This can occur earlier than usual in polymenorrhea, or occur at odd times during the process. Some people might have a shorter luteal period, too. The luteal process comes as the body prepares for pregnancy.
A study carried out in 2016 revealed that women aged 21–45 who wanted to get pregnant had less chance to conceive in one menstrual cycle if their period was less than 26 days.
Another study of women between 19 and 41 years of age found that women with high menstrual cycle variability had a 51 per cent greater pregnancy rate per cycle.
Of course some people have odd lengths of the menstrual cycle, and this may be common for them.
Frequent intervals, however, can point to an underlying cause. To explain this a person should always seek medical advice.
In 2011, the International Gynecology and Obstetrics Federation (FIGO) proposed the PALM-COEIN scheme for identify the conditions that cause irregular uterine bleeding. Health experts, however, should use the device only on people whose frequent bleeding is not linked to pregnancy. Possible causes might be either systemic, such as polyps or malignancies, or non-structural, such as ovulatory causes, according to PALM-COEIN.
Some of the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding, according to a 2016 review, may include:
- adenomyosis, a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus
- malignancy, which is the presence of cancer or a malignant tumor
- coagulopathy, a condition in which the blood has a reduced ability to clot
- ovulatory causes
- endometrial causes
- iatrogenic causes, which are due to diagnostic procedures, or treatments, such as intrauterine device (IUD) or hormone medications, such as birth control
- not otherwise classified causes that may co-exist with abnormal uterine bleeding
Menstrual cycles may get irregular at certain times in a person’s life. This can occur when they first begin menstruating during puberty, or when they come during menopause towards the end of menstruation.
During perimenopause, which is the time leading up to menopause, there may be changes in the menstrual cycle. Some signs could include hot flashes, fluctuations in mood, weight changes and exhaustion. Most people notice signs of perimenopause in their 40s but some may feel them as early as their 30s.
A consultation with a physician will help a person figure out whether their symptoms and menstrual irregularities are due to perimenopause. A doctor will sometimes ask for blood tests to confirm that.
Stress can strike hormones. A 2018 survey in Saudi Arabia of female students aged 18–25 showed that 91 percent had some menstrual issues, and 27 percent had frequent menstruation. Thirty-nine per cent of the students had high perceived stress.
A person who feels stressed should talk with their doctor, and may want to see a supportive psychological therapist.
Care depends on the polymenorrhea cause. A study of irregular uterine bleeding suggests individualized care, and there are no single-size-fits-all solutions.
Drug management should consider a person’s desire for fertility and contraceptive needs, the effect of symptoms, medical conditions and any other contributing factors.
Abnormal uterine bleeding that becomes heavy may indicate complications of the fibroids or endometrials. An abnormal uterine bleeding could, in some cases, indicate endometrial or uterine cancer.
A person who feels tired, faint, or tired should see a doctor, as they may have anemia. Anemia is when an individual lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around their body.
People who have shortened menstrual cycles or are too frequent should consult with a medical professional to get a diagnosis. That may involve questions, tests, or tests. A doctor can refer a person to a gynecologist or other specialist for further examination, depending upon any other accompanying symptoms.
Doctors may recommend the following tests, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
- an ultrasound exam
- a hysteroscopy, which is a thin, lighted scope that investigates the uterus
- an endometrial biopsy, which involves removing a sample from the lining of the uterus
- a sonohysterography, which produces ultrasound images of a fluid-filled uterus
- a CT scan, which is an X-ray procedure
When to see a doctor
If someone has menstrual cycles that are abnormal, they should see a doctor who can confirm that this is natural for them or if there is an underlying cause that needs treatment. Sometimes, they might want to think about how the disease affects their lives.
Shortened or too frequent menstrual cycles can in many ways influence a person’s life, including impacting their social and mental health.
Any new signs that follow irregular cycles should be treated by a doctor.
Polymenorrhea may be due to the natural cycle of an individual, or may have underlying causes. A person needs to know why his or her cycle is irregular. They should see a medical professional for counseling, and possibly research and treatment.
Stress can sometimes be at the root of menstrual irregularities, and with a medical professional, anyone experiencing stress should address these.
Polymenorrhea can have a severe impact on a person’s life, and can affect their work or school life, social life, activities, and feelings.
If someone wants to get pregnant, as well as seeking advice from their doctor, they might want to use a smartphone app to track their menstrual cycles.