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Menstrual Problems

Symptoms of Menstruation Discomfort

Nonetheless, many women experience physical discomfort several days before their menstrual period. About half of all women suffer from dysmenorrhea, which is a painful menstruation. This is especially common during the early adult years. Symptoms of menstrual discomfort may include tenderness of the breasts, sore nipples, retaining fluid (bloating), and irritability.

Some women experience quite intense discomfort, including cramps caused by contractions of the smooth muscles of the uterus, headaches, Mittelschmertz or pain in the midsection, nervousness, fatigue, stuffy nose, and crying spells.

Premenstrual Syndrome

In its most severe form, often involving depression and anger, this condition is known as premenstrual syndrome or PMS, and may require medical attention.

In several court cases in Great Britain and France, attorneys have used the occurrence of PMS to successfully argue for diminished capacity during the commission of violent crimes. While in the past, PMS was dismissed as a psychosomatic condition, and continues to be the subject of derisive humor, today it is recognized as having organic causes. Several medications have been developed to treat the symptoms of PMS.

Menstruation Failure — Amenorrhea

Some women experience a condition known as amenorrhea, or failure to menstruate over a protracted period of time. This condition can be caused by various factors including stress, rapid weight loss, regular strenuous exercise, or illness. Conversely, some women experience excessive menstrual flow, a condition known as menorrhagia. Not only may the flow of blood be particularly heavy, but it may extend for a longer than normal period.

Attitudes toward menstruation vary widely from society to society and even within a particular society. Many societies view women as contaminated or polluted during menstruation and seclude them from the community based on the fear that everything they touch will be polluted. In such settings, there may be diverse derogatory euphemisms to refer to menstruation.

In U.S. society, examples of the latter include "the curse" and being "on the rag." Menstruation is one of the justifications that has been offered for denying women access to clerical roles in some religions. Cleansing rituals at the end of menstruation are prescribed in a number of societies. However, other societies treat menstruation as a natural or normal bodily function and do not punish or restrict women during their menstrual period.

Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute