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Period Problems

Most women will experience period problems during their lifetime, which often occur before or during a period, when the lining of the uterus (womb) is shed as blood.

What are period problems?

Your uterus gets ready for a possible pregnancy each month, causing its lining to thicken and soften. If a fertilised egg does not implant in the uterus, the lining of the uterus is shed and passes out of as blood, through the vagina.

Period problems can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms such as severe pain and heavy periods can impact your daily life, and should be addressed as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of period problems?

Women experience period problems differently.

Examples of common symptoms include:

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea) – pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Heavy periods
  • Irregular periods – a wide variation in the time between your periods, the amount of blood you lose and the number of days the period lasts
  • Stopped or missed periods
  • PMS (premenstrual syndrome) – symptoms of mood swings, depression or tiredness or headaches occurring for some days before the period,
  • Endometriosis –heavy bleeding, cramps or pain before and during periods, and painful intercourse
  • Ovulation pain – one-sided pain in the lower abdomen

What causes period problems?

Common causes of period problems include:

  • Stress and lifestyle – if you gain weight, change your exercise routine or experience any other disruptions in your life, this can cause period problems
  • Birth control – going on or off birth control pills lead to irregular or missed periods, as they change the hormone balance in your body
  • Polyps or fibroids – benign growths in the lining of your uterus may cause heavy bleeding and pain during your period
  • Endometriosis – a condition that causes severe period problems as the tissue that lines the womb grows outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – bacteria may enter the vagina via sexual contact and then spread to the uterus and upper genital tract
  • Ovary conditions
  • Uterine cancer or cervical cancer

How are period problems diagnosed?

If your period problems are impacting your life, you should speak to your doctor, who will discuss your symptoms, alongside details of your menstrual cycle.

Your doctor will perform a physical and pelvic exam to look for any problems in your reproductive organs and to see if your vagina or cervix are inflamed. In some instances, your doctor may take a Pap smear or arrange an ultrasound scan to get a better idea of the cause of your symptoms.

How are period problems treated?

Your period problems will be treated depending on the cause.

Treatments may include:

  • Birth control pills – these can relieve symptoms of PMS and regulate heavy periods
  • Hormone releasing intrauterine contraceptive devise
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and medications
  • Referral to King Edward VII’s Hospital Endometriosis Centre – if you’re suffering with endometriosis, your doctor may refer you to our team of experts at our Endometriosis Centre to help treat the deliberating symptoms.

Depending on the cause of your period problems, you might need surgery. You will be advised on the surgery that is best for you.

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

This content has been checked and approved by

Mr Michael Savvas  ›

Mr Michael Savvas is currently a Consultant Gynaecologist with a broad experience in Gynaecology and has specialist experience in Menopause, HRT, PMS, Colposcopy and menstrual disorders.

Find your specialist in period problems at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have period problems and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading gynaecology specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Mr Thomas Ind  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecological surgery (+ 8) more
Professor Maria Kyrgiou  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecological surgery (+ 6) more
Mr Ertan Saridogan  ›
Special interests include:
Laparoscopic surgery (+ 6) more
Professor Michael Craig  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecology (+ 6) more
Mr Ellis Downes  ›
Special interests include:
Incontinence (+ 11) more
Professor Sadaf Ghaem-Maghami  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecological cancer (+ 3) more
Mr Dimitrious Mavrelos  ›
Special interests include:
Mr Joel Naftalin  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecology (+ 5) more
Miss Jackie Ross  ›
Special interests include:
Gynaecology (+ 3) more

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