Your menstrual cycle and your health

Your menstrual cycle can tell you a lot about your health. Regular periods between puberty and menopause mean your body is working normally. Period problems like irregular or painful periods may be a sign of a serious health problem. Period problems may also lead to other health problems, including problems getting pregnant. 

How does the menstrual cycle affect other health problems?

Symptoms of other health problems might be worse or get better at certain times of your menstrual cycle

Anemia.

Heavy bleeding is the most common cause of iron-deficiency anemia in women of childbearing age. Anemia is a condition that happens when your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to all of the different parts of your body because it does not have enough iron. This makes you pale or feel tired or weak.

Asthma.

Your asthma symptoms may be worse during some parts of your cycle.

Depression.

Women with a history of depression are more likely to have premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Symptoms of depression may also be worse before their period for women with depression.3

Diabetes.

Women with irregular menstrual cycles, especially those longer than 40 days, have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Younger women between 18 and 22 with irregular periods are even more at risk.

Heart disease and stroke.

When you have amenorrhea or are in menopause, your ovaries may no longer make estrogen. Estrogen protects your body in many ways, including against heart disease and stroke.

Osteoporosis.

If you have amenorrhea, your bones might be at risk. Without estrogen from your ovaries, you lose bone mass, which puts you at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become brittle and weak and break easily.Problems getting pregnant. Some conditions that cause period problems, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or PCOS, can lead to infertility.

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