Oligomenorrhea refers to infrequent or abnormally light bleeding in menstrual age females. It specifically refers to when a typically normal menstrual cycle begins lasting longer than 35 days, or a person has fewer than nine menstrual periods in an entire year.It can also be a sign of a more serious health condition.
The common Oligomenorrhea symptoms include:
• Infrequent periods that don’t occur for more than 35 days
• Having less than 9 periods a year
• Irregular menstrual bleeding
• Light bleeding
Some other symptoms may be –
• Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms including mood swings, tiredness, bloating and abdominal cramp.
• The blood may be darker brown shade or very faint.
• You’ll probably also notice small clots in your pad or underwear.
In a regular menstrual cycle, hormonal changes signal the lining of the uterus to build up each month in preparation for a fertilized egg. Of course, an egg does not always find its way to the uterus. When the lining is not needed, the tissue sloughs off, passes through the cervix and into the vagina, where it can then leave the body in the form of a period.
This process happens every month or so, though the normal variation in menstrual cycle length can be slightly longer or shorter than 28 days.
Oligomenorrhea has various causes:
• Having Birth control pills –
Most often, this condition is a side effect of hormonal birth control. Some women experience lighter and lighter periods for three to six months after they begin taking the birth control. Sometimes, their periods stop completely.
• Females who involved in sports –
Young women who participate in sports or engage in heavy exercise can develop this condition.
• Eating Habits –
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, can also cause this condition.
• At a Certain age –
Oligomenorrhea is common in adolescent girls and perimenopausal women due to fluctuating hormone levels.
• Being Overweight –
Being overweight or obese can also affect your cycle. Estrogen, a key hormone for regulating menstruation, is found in body fat. Having more body fat increases your estrogen levels, which can impact the menstrual cycle.
• Underlying health conditions –
Oligomenorrhea can be a sign of several underlying health conditions, including:
▪︎ Primary ovarian insufficiency
▪︎ Pelvic inflammatory disease
▪︎ Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
▪︎ Hyperprolactinemia (elevated levels of prolactin in the blood)
▪︎ Prolactinomas (adenomas on the anterior pituitary gland)
▪︎ Hormone-secreting tumors
▪︎ Thyroid disorders
▪︎ Obstructions of the uterus, cervix, and/or vagina
▪︎ Anabolic steroid use
▪︎ Graves’ Disease
▪︎ Prader-Willi syndrome
▪︎ Uncontrolled Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
• Due to certain medications –
Medications that can impact the menstrual cycle include:
▪︎ Anticoagulants like aspirin
▪︎ Epilepsy treatments
▪︎ Anti-anxiety or antipsychotic medications
It’s important to make sure that the cause of a delayed menstrual cycle isn’t pregnancy.
If untreated, oligomenorrhea can lead to various health problems, including –
• Cardiovascular issues
• Neurological disorders
• Endometrial hyperplasia (when too many cells build up in the uterine lining) or endometrial cancer.
Your doctor will start with a physical examination to check for any lumps, tender areas, or extra body hair. A vaginal speculum examination is another important test in which your vaginal walls and cervix are checked for infection, inflammation, scar tissue, or growths.
Tests your healthcare provider may order to diagnose the cause of oligomenorrhea include:3
• Blood tests to check for disorders that cause bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, infections, markers of inflammation, and other findings
• Tests to check your hormone levels and thyroid function
• Urine samples to check for pregnancy, infection, or STDs
• Pap smear to test for cervical cancer
• Other tissue biopsies to look for other types of cancer
Your healthcare provider may also use imaging tests to look at your reproductive organs, including:
• Ultrasounds of your abdomen and pelvis, including transvaginal ultrasounds
• CT scans or MRIs
▪︎ Lifestyle Changes
If oligomenorrhea is related to something in your lifestyle, such as your weight, exercise routine, or stress levels, your healthcare provider can help you get the resources and support you need to make changes. You may find that the problems with your period get better on their own.
▪︎ Birth Control or Hormone Therapy
If you have certain conditions that respond to hormones, your healthcare provider might ask you about trying different types of birth control to manage your periods.
Another type of hormone therapy your healthcare provider may prescribe is gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists.4 However, you should know that these medications are not meant to be used long-term and also have side effects.
▪︎ Treating Underlying Health Conditions
If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, you may be given antibiotics to treat it. It’s important that you tell any sexual partners you’ve had about your diagnosis so they can be tested and treated as well.
If you are experiencing oligomenorrhea as a result of another health condition, you may need to see a different type of healthcare provider to ensure it is treated.
For example, if you are diagnosed with a thyroid condition, an endocrinologist can help you find the right medication for treating it. Once your condition is being managed, you will likely notice symptoms such as oligomenorrhea begin to resolve.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Oligomenorrhea condition is called Arthava Kshaya in Ayurveda.
Here in this condition, artava is in kshaya avastha (declined/diminished), so also pitta dosha; which is due to margavarana (blockage in the corresponding channels) done by vata and kapha doshas and hence they are in prakopavastha (aggravation). So here we can state that factors which vitiate and aggravate vatakapha and causes decrease of pitta (pitta kshaya) should be considered as Arthava Kshaya reason.
Artavakshaya should be treated through shodana (purificatory therapy) and agneya dravyas (ushna-teekshna-laghu). Srotoshodhaka, Vatakaphahara, Balya, Pachana, Deepana medicaments are recommended.
▪︎ Beneficial Medications –
• Rajapravartini Vati
• Chandraprabha Vati
• Tankan Bhasm
• Hingwashtak Churna
• Phal Ghrita
▪︎ Home Remedies –
• Papaya –
One should have green, unripe papaya to your diet can help you in regulating your periods and flow. One should eat papaya every day to cure oligomenorrhea.
• Turmeric –
The herb helps in balancing hormones and regulating your cycle. It has properties like antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory that will benefit you and your body. Just add a teaspoon of turmeric to your milk or water. Repeat every day.
• Ginger –
This herb will help you increase the period flow and regulate it too.Just boil ginger for 5 minutes, add little sugar and gulp it down.
• Cinnamon –
It has properties that will help you warm your body and regulate your cycle. Just add cinnamon powder in a glass of warm milk and gulp it down.
• Aloe vera –
This remedy helps in regulating your cycle naturally and helps your hormones. Extract the gel from the plant, add one tablespoon of honey and consume it before having your breakfast every day.
It is also recommended to exercise or practice yoga to distress as stress is one of the major causes of irregular periods.
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