Menstrual disorders: What you need to know
Menstrual disorders and abnormalities, while unfortunate and often distressing, affect as many as 25% of those who menstruate.
We understand that as an athlete it’s your priority to funnel your energy into the activities that enable you to optimise your performance. We want to ensure that if you are managing symptoms or have a formal diagnosis of a menstrual disorder, you are armed with the necessities to go forward and implement a treatment plan (from a medical professional) to help you get back to training optimally.
What are examples of menstrual disorders?
The array of menstrual conditions can range from discreet and simple to manage, to those that cause significant disruption of day-to-day life, training and athletic performance, as well as fertility.
Some types of menstrual disorders can include:
What are symptoms of menstrual disorders?
Typically, the various disorders can be triggered by multiple different things like uterine fibroids, hormonal imbalances, cancers, sexually transmitted infections, and genetics. And, generally, symptoms of these disorders and abnormalities consist of:
- Abnormal bleeding on your period
- Pain and/or cramping
- Poor mental health and emotional stress – often culminating in depression
- Bloating in the abdomen
It’s important that when these symptoms exist and persist, they are brought to light with your doctor to achieve an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
How are menstrual disorders diagnosed?
There is a myriad of methods used to test for menstrual disorders that assist in achieving a formal diagnosis. These methods may include:
- Pap smear
- Pelvic examination
- Medical history (inclusive of female relatives)
- Details of menstrual cycles (this may be in the form of a period diary detailing symptoms, flow, and dates)
- Pelvic ultrasound
When these options are inconclusive, your doctor may explore more advanced testing options such as laparoscopy (also known as keyhole surgery) or arrange other pathology and medical imaging.
How are menstrual disorders treated?
Once a diagnosis is reached, a treatment plan can be put in place to help minimise the impact of the disorder in your everyday life. Depending on both the cause of the symptoms and your objectives of treatment, there are several ways your doctor may go about treating you. From holistic lifestyle changes to dietary changes, medicinal treatment, and surgery there are multiple options available to combat your symptoms and help you focus on elite performance.
If you’re struggling with any symptoms of a menstrual condition, we encourage you to get in touch with a medical professional who can help you get back on the track.
When should I seek medical advice about menstrual disorders?
If you’re struggling with any symptoms of a menstrual condition or have concerns about menstrual disorders impacting your life and athletic performance, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We have a network of specialised General Practitioners, fertility specialists and gynaecologists across Australia who will be more than happy to speak with you and discuss your individual circumstances.
With over 50 dedicated specialists across 70 consulting locations throughout the country, our friendly staff can help you choose the right medical professional to guide you and help you achieve your sporting goals. Contact us now.