Menstrual disorders: your questions answered

Written by: Mr Angus J.M. Thomson
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

What is a menstrual disorder?

A menstrual disorder is a broad combination of symptoms where there is a abnormality or irregularity of normal periods or menstrual cycle.


There are various different types of menstrual disorders.


Symptoms can range from not having periods, to having irregular periods, having heavy periods or bleeding between periods.



What are the most common types of menstrual disorders?

The most common types of menstrual disorders are:

  • When periods become heavier.
  • When periods become irregular.
  • When periods become painful.
  • When women experience beeding between periods.
  • When women experience bleeding after sexual intercourse.


How exactly can menstrual disorders affect women's quality of life?

As any woman will know, changes in their menstrual cycle can affect all aspects of life, from their work life to their social life to their sexual life.


It can also affect their ability to attend school or work. Furthermore, it can affect their ability to attend social events.


When does a menstrual disorder become a serious medical concern?

Menstrual disorders can certainly have major impacts on other aspects of health.


Menstrual disorders become a serious medical concern when they cause change in activity levels; when they stop someone from being able to do normal activities or being able to function properly.


They also become serious when they’re actually becoming dangerous because, for example, bleeding very heavily can lead to having low hemoglobin. This requires either treatment with iron or blood transfusions, which can be potentially life threatening.


Menstrual disorders become a serious medical condition when they’re stopping other aspects of normal life such as stopping a woman from becoming pregnant, preventing them from being able to continue with the pregnancy due to miscarriage.


How long do menstrual disorders generally last?

Unfortunately, menstrual disorders can last for a very long time.  Most women’s periods begin between the ages of 11 and 13, and most end around the age of 51. If any change in the cycle is unadressed, the disorder can last for the whole duration of the woman’s cycle.


In general, people start to experience menstrual disorders as they progress through life, therefore they become increasingly more common in a woman’s 20s, 30s and 40s.


However, they can affect women of all ages and will often continue unless they’re addressed in some way, either with medical treatment or sometimes with surgical treatment.


By Mr Angus J.M. Thomson
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Angus Thomson is a leading consultant gynaecologist based in Worcestershire. He specialises in the treatment of endometriosis, pelvic pain and prolapse. He is additionally renowned for his expertise in menstrual problems, fibroids and female urinary incontinence, as well as his skill as a laparascopic (minimally invasive) surgeon.

After completing his initial medical training in the UK, Mr Thomson completed a two-year fellowship in laparoscopic, hysteroscopic and urogynaecological surgery in Sydney, Australia. He has been based at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust since 2005, where he has held various senior positions, as well as his role as consultant gynaecologist, including gynaecology lead and clinical director. He currently serves as divisional medical director for women’s and children’s services. Mr Thomson's current practice at the Worcester gynaecology department is a nationally accredited BSUG (British Society of Urogynaecology) urogynaecology unit, and is a BSGE (British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy) endometriosis centre.

In addition to his busy clinical practice, Mr Thomson is widely published and presents nationally on areas of his expertise. He also serves on the National Council of the BSGE (British Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy) and additionally coordinates the educational and scientific meetings of the BSUG (British Society of Urogynaecology). Across his esteemed career, Mr Thomson's excellence has been recognised with a number of awards for his research and his practice. He additionally offers specialist training for GPs on many topics such as innovations in gynaecology and menopause management amongst others. 

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