Let's face it: women's bodies are extremely sophisticated. The menstrual cycle, for starters, is a series of complex processes that must occur precisely each month for normal menstruation
to occur. Period problems are your body's way of telling you something might be amiss. Sometimes small things can go wrong and trigger dramatic changes in your cycle. Here are eight signs that you may need to see your doctor about your menstrual periods:
If you haven’t had your first period by the time you reach your 16th birthday, or by three years after you begin to develop breasts, a visit to the doctor is in order. If your breasts haven't started to develop by the time you’re 13, see your doctor as well.
What is Amenorrhea?If you begin to menstruate irregularly, after having regular menstrual cycles, see your doctor.
What is Irregular Bleeding?If you have periods that occur less than 21 days apart, schedule an appointment.
What is Polymenorrhea?If your period lasts longer than 7 days, see your doctor.
What is Menorrhagia?If your menstrual cycles are more than 35 days long, see your doctor.
What is Oligomenorrhea?If you experience heavy bleeding that requires changing pads or tampons more often every one or two hours, see your doctor immediately.
Severe Acute BleedingIf you experience a sudden high fever, hypertension, and a skin rash during your period, seek emergency medical care. This is a sign of toxic shock syndrome or TSS.
Toxic Shock Syndrome Symptoms and PreventionIf you experience severe pain or cramps during menstruation, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle; National Women’s Health Information Center; http://www.4women.gov/faq/menstru.htm; accessed 12/30/07.