Physician Spotlight: Dr. Eric Feinberg and a Woman's CurseHealth Hub
A woman's period
The Curse, Monthly Friend, Time of The Month. Everyone calls it something different, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of names, but they are all referring to the normal process of menses.
Menses is the last phase of the menstrual cycle. This complex, delicate and amazing process — when it works properly — creates ovulation and the potential for new life.
The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one menses to the first day of the next menses. A “normal cycle” occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts two to seven days.
On average, blood loss is generally around one to six tablespoons. According to the Huffington Post, women typically use 20 tampons and five pads per menses. Allhough this is considered normal, it is not what many women experience.
What is a 'bad period?
Many women suffer from “bad periods.” But what makes it bad? In my practice, I use the rule of “too”: Too painful, too heavy, too frequent, too infrequent, too irregular.
Now, you may ask, what defines these “toos”? Often, the factor is medical. Too much bleeding or too frequent bleeding can cause anemia. Too infrequent menses can increase the risk of endometrial cancer and other conditions.
It also can be an issue of quality of life. No one wants to experience the annoying, painful and uncomfortable symptoms of a bad period, which is why women should feel encouraged to bring up any concerns to their physician.
Women’s cycles can also cause severe pain and heavy bleeding, leaving them bedridden or miserable. This pain with menses is called dysmenorrhea. Approximately 20 percent of women experience dysmenorrhea severe enough to interfere with daily activities. An abnormally heavy menses is called menorrhagia, and up to 5 percent of women report having this symptom.
Varying conditions lead to bad periods. When a patient sees me in the office with concerns about bad periods, the first step is to obtain a detailed history of the problem. The next step is a physical exam that looks for potential abnormalities in anatomy, abnormal tenderness or signs of infection.
The history and physical results will then guide us to further testing that includes imaging studies such as ultrasound, cultures and labs. This helps physicians find just the right treatment to give women their quality of life back — no matter the time of the month.
Seek help for your discomfort
These days, there are so many potential treatments for bad periods. If an evaluation leads to the identification of a cause such as fibroids, infection, bleeding disorder etc., then we focus on addressing that cause. However, in many cases we don't find a specific cause for the discomfort. When that happens, we still have plenty of options to treat uncomfortable symptoms.
If you feel like you are having bad periods, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are many things we can do to help you manage your uncomfortable symptoms. Our trained, compassionate experts are prepared to find the best fit for you with more tools at their disposal than ever before. Your periods don’t have to rule your life.
Looking for help with your menstrual cycle or any other sort of care for women's health?
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