Menstrual disorders is an umbrella term used to describe a range of symptoms that can accompany a woman’s menstrual cycle. Whilst many women experience some kind of discomfort during their cycle, for some, the crippling menstrual cramps, irregular periods and poor mental health that accompanies the monthly hormonal shifts can have a detrimental effect on quality of life.
- Menstrual cramps
- Sharp pains in lower abdomen, sometimes shooting into the back and legs
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Missed or irregular periods
Hormonal imbalance: the menstrual cycle is run by a delicate balance between the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Disruption to the relative levels of these hormones can lead to painful or irregular periods as well as poor emotional health.
Imbalances in female hormones can be detected by a Comprehensive Female Hormone Profile.
Low thyroid activity: an underactive thyroid can cause both heavy and irregular periods. Typical low thyroid symptoms include constipation, cold hands and feet, weight gain and depression.
If you think hypothyroidism may be a factor in your condition, Smart Nutrition recommend a Thyroid Test.
Nutritional imbalance: certain vitamins and minerals are needed to keep hormones levels even and ensuring the correct amount of menstrual blood flow. Women who regularly experience very heavy periods are likely to become deficient in nutrients such as iron due to increased blood loss.
A poor diet, stressful lifestyle or use of some medications can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can greatly exacerbate menstrual symptoms.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be identified using a simple test. If you experience heavy periods, it’s advisable to check your iron levels, which can be be done by your doctor. Smart Nutrition also recommend the NutrEval Health MOT which also checks vitamin and mineral levels and balances as well as amino acids, fatty acids and oxidative stress.
Body weight: problems with weight, both too much and too little, can cause menstrual disorders.
Female athletes or women with a very low body weight, including performers, dancers and models may miss periods or stop having them altogether. Overweight women may also suffer from irregular periods – and both extremes of body weight can lead to compromised fertility.
Smart Nutrition can help you to make appropriate changes to your diet to sustain a healthy weight and rebalance your menstrual cycle. Please use the link at the bottom of the page to book a consultation.
Stress: whatever the source of stress, it causes our adrenal glands to secrete the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol has a direct impact on the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Eating disorders, inappropriate dieting, drug use and reliance on stimulants such as caffeine, smoking and alcohol are also interpreted by the body as kinds of stress.
If you think stress may be contributing to your menstrual problems, an Adrenal Stress Test can help pinpoint precise imbalances. These imbalances can then be targeted with the help of Smart Nutrition.
Underlying disorders: menstrual difficulties may also be caused by an underlying medical condition. Common culprits include PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis.
If your cramps are incapacitating, your bleeding is excessive or you have missed three periods or more (and are not pregnant), you should consult your GP to have any underlying causes investigated.