If you have problems with your periods, talk to your GP as there may be treatments that can help.
Period problems include:
absent periods (amenorrhoea)
heavy periods (menorrhagia)
painful periods (dysmenorrhoea)
Absent periods (amenorrhoea)
If a woman stops having periods altogether, it's known as absent periods or amenorrhoea. It usually means no eggs are being produced. If you don't produce eggs (ovulate), you can't get pregnant.
There are many possible causes of absent periods, including:
severe stress or illness
extreme weight loss or extreme exercise
polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Treating the underlying cause often leads to your periods resuming.
Heavy periods (menorrhagia)
The amount of blood lost during a period varies from woman to woman.
However, see your GP if your periods are so heavy that they're disrupting your life and making you feel miserable. Treatment may help.
You might have heavy periods if:
you're using many tampons or sanitary towels
blood leaks through to your clothes
you need to use a sanitary towel and a tampon to prevent leaking
you become anaemic – leading to tiredness, shortness of breath, feeling faint, or hair loss
Periods can last between two and eight days. The menstrual cycle (the time from the start of one period to the day before the next one) usually lasts 24 to 35 days.
If you have irregular periods, the gaps between your periods will vary, as will the amount of blood you lose and how long your period lasts.
Irregular periods are caused by irregular ovulation, so there are many possible causes. They may be normal in puberty or shortly before the menopause, or may be caused by progesterone-based contraceptives. The other possible causes are similar to those of absent periods.
Treatment for irregular periods depends on the underlying cause.
Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea)
Most women experience painful periods at some point in their lifetime. The pain can be in your lower abdomen (tummy), pelvis, lower back, thighs and vagina shortly before and during your period.
The pain can vary from mild to very severe. Speak to your GP if the pain is severe and you're finding it difficult to cope.
Painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to treat painful periods.