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Is irregular, painful period a sign of infertility?

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Q/ Hello doctor, is having irregular and painful periods related to infertility? What would be the cause and how do I treat this condition? Thank you, Alice.

A/ Dear Alice,
A normal menstrual cycle should happen once, monthly, every 21-35days.

Most women have their monthly periods every after 28 days, and these can easily predict when they are next getting their monthly period. Usually, a normal menstrual period lasts 2-7days.

When one gets their menses before 21 days, then they are likely to bleed twice in one cycle, whereas those who bleed after 35 days will miss their periods.

Irregular menstrual periods apply to when one bleeds more than once in a cycle month, one misses a month or months without a period. This is associated with irregular or no ovulation at all.

The major cause of this is usually due to hormonal imbalances especially in women with poly cystic ovarian syndrome.
Other causes of irregular menstrual cycles include physical and psychological stress, some medications, weight extremes (very low body weight or overweight).

Irregular cycles are common during the first years when a woman has just started having menstrual periods (Menarche), or during the final years of the reproductive age (Perimenopause period).

Pain during menstruation
Dysmenorrhoea, loosely referred to as “cramps” is a common normal occurrence in many women.

The severity of pain varies from woman to woman, with no identifiable cause in majority of women.

However, there are other causes of pain during menstrual periods; notable among those is a condition known as endometriosis.

Women who suffer from endometriosis experience pain, which usually starts a week or days before the actual period.
Such women may also experience chronic pelvic and lower back pain.

Endometriosis affects the functionality of fallopian tubes and ovaries, leading to infertility or failure to conceive.

Treatment of the above depends on the cause. It is always advisable to first do a thorough investigation to ascertain the cause.

For women trying to conceive, they should do a fertility workup, as there might be more than one factor leading to this.

Answered by Dr Joseph Kafuuma.

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