Are you going through shorter and more frequent periods than usual? It may be a case of polymenorrhea. Know why it happens and what to do!

Menstruation, also called period, typically lasts 5-7 days and occurs every 21 to 35 days for a woman in her reproductive phase. But sometimes, the duration can be irregular. Periods can be shorter and more frequent. This condition is called polymenorrhea. There are various potential causes of polymenorrhea, including hormonal imbalances. Read on to know more about polymenorrhea, its causes and treatment.

What is polymenorrhea?

Polymenorrhea is a term used to describe a menstrual cycle that occurs more frequently than the typical 21 to 35 days, says gynaecologist Dr Aabha Bhalerao. Basically, women with polymenorrhea experience periods at intervals shorter than the normal range. This condition can result in more frequent menstrual bleeding.

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Polymenorrhea can result in more frequent menstrual bleeding. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the causes of polymenorrhea?

Polymenorrhea, or frequent menstrual cycles, can be caused by various factors. Here are six potential causes:

1. Hormonal imbalances

Fluctuations in hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect your menstrual cycle. Conditions such as anovulation (lack of ovulation), thyroid disorders, and hormonal contraception changes can contribute to hormonal imbalances.

2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common condition characterised by hormonal imbalances, ovarian cysts, and irregular menstrual cycles. Women with PCOS often experience polymenorrhea due to disruptions in the normal hormonal regulation of the menstrual cycle, says the expert.

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3. Uterine fibroids

These are non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can affect menstrual patterns. Fibroids can cause increased bleeding and also more frequent periods.

4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs, often caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), says Dr Bhalerao. It can lead to inflammation and scarring, affecting the regularity of menstrual cycles.

5. Stress and lifestyle factors

A 2019 study published in the Bioscientia Medicina: Journal of Biomedicine and Translational Research found a link between stress and menstrual cycle disturbance. Out of 503 young women who participated in the study, 59 of them (11.7 percent) experienced polymenorrhea.

Chronic stress, extreme weight changes, and intense physical activity can impact the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, disrupting the normal hormonal balance and leading to polymenorrhea.

6. Certain medications

Some medications, such as certain contraceptives or medications that affect hormone levels, may contribute to changes in menstrual patterns. Birth control pills or antidepressants may affect your menstrual cycle.

What are the symptoms of polymenorrhea?

The primary symptom of polymenorrhea is a frequent menstrual cycle. However, this condition can also be associated with other symptoms depending on the underlying cause.

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Polymenorrhea my cause pelvic pain. Image courtesy: Freepik

Common symptoms may include:

  • The main characteristic of polymenorrhea is having menstrual cycles more often than the normal range.
  • Some underlying causes, such as uterine fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause pelvic pain or discomfort.
  • Depending on the hormonal imbalance or condition causing polymenorrhea, women may experience symptoms like acne, changes in libido, breast tenderness, or mood swings.
  • More frequent periods may lead to fatigue and a general feeling of weakness.

These symptoms can vary from person to person, and the severity of symptoms may depend on the underlying cause of polymenorrhea. If you are experiencing abnormal menstrual patterns or any concerning symptoms, you should seek medical advice for a proper diagnosis and appropriate management.

How to treat polymenorrhea?

Finding the cause of polymenorrhea is important before treatment. Here are some common approaches to treating polymenorrhea:

1. Hormonal therapy

In cases where hormonal imbalances are contributing to polymenorrhea, hormonal therapy may be prescribed. This could include hormone replacement therapy, or medications to regulate hormone levels, says the expert.

2. Lifestyle modifications

Making lifestyle changes can be beneficial in managing polymenorrhea. This involves adopting healthy habits such as maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress effectively, and ensuring adequate sleep. These lifestyle modifications contribute to overall well-being and can potentially help regulate menstrual cycle.

3. Iron supplements

If polymenorrhea has led to iron deficiency anemia due to excessive blood loss, iron supplements may be recommended to restore iron levels.

In some cases, surgical procedures may be considered to address underlying issues contributing to polymenorrhea. For example, the removal of uterine fibroids or treatment of structural abnormalities may be necessary.

Can polymenorrhea cause infertility?

Polymenorrhea can significantly impact fertility due to underlying factors, says the expert.

  • Anovulation is often associated with polymenorrhea. It means eggs are not released during menstrual cycle, so it can hinder conception.
  • Uterine abnormalities like fibroids or adenomyosis, which can cause polymenorrhea, may interfere with egg implantation or affect uterine structure, complicating conception.

Moreover, frequent menstrual cycles shorten the fertile window, reducing opportunities for conception. Chronic hormonal fluctuations associated with polymenorrhea create an inhospitable environment for fertilisation.

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