Reducing Your Risk of Menstrual Disorders
Menstrual disorders have a variety of causes, which may or may not be preventable. For the cases that can be prevented, the following tips may help reduce your risk of developing menorrhagia or amenorrhea.
Treat Conditions That Can Lead to Heavy Bleeding
Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, diabetes
Reduce the Intensity of Your Exercise Routine (if necessary)
Excessive and intense exercise can cause you to stop having menstrual periods. If you exercise compulsively due to fear of gaining weight, you may have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. It is not uncommon for women with eating disorders to exercise 2-6 hours a day. If you have an eating disorder you need to see your healthcare provider to get proper treatment and help to reduce your exercising.
On the other hand, if you exercise intensely because you are an athlete, it may be difficult for you to cut back. To prevent amenorrhea, you should talk to your healthcare provider about getting more calcium, staying close to your recommended body weight, and developing an appropriate exercise routine.
Maintain an Appropriate Weight and Level of Body Fat
Amenorrhea is often related to levels of body fat—either too much or too little. Your healthcare provider can help determine your appropriate weight and body fat levels. You should not lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly.
If you need to lose weight, your healthcare provider or a dietitian can help you make adjustments so that your diet is well-balanced and adequate in calories. If you have an intense fear of gaining weight or feel that your eating is compulsive and out of control, you should also be assessed for eating disorders.
Get Help for an Eating Disorder (if diagnosed)
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, often lead to amenorrhea. Eating disorders are serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating. They are accompanied by feelings of distress or excessive concern about body shape or weight.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which obsessive dieting and exercising leads to dangerous weight loss.
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which large amounts of food are consumed (called binging), followed by actions (vomiting, laxatives, water pills, excessive exercise) to rid the body of the food eaten (called purging). Compulsive eating is followed by purging to prevent weight gain.
If you think you may have an eating disorder, seek help from your healthcare provider immediately.
Reduce Your Stress Level
A high level of stress can disrupt your menstrual periods. In addition to reducing your overall stress level, you should get more rest and relaxation. You may also benefit from relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback. These techniques help you pay attention to tension in your body and release it with exercises that help quiet your mind and relax your muscles. Regular enjoyable activities can also help to relieve stress.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.org/ . Accessed February 28, 2006.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism website. Available at: http://jcem.endojournals.org/ . Accessed February 28, 2006.
National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nof.org/ . Accessed February 28, 2006.
Last reviewed February 2007 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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