Menstrual Cycle Problems

From missed periods to painful periods, menstrual cycle problems are common, but usually not serious. Follow this chart for information regarding changes in your cycle.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Have your periods become painful?

  • Have you been more emotional, fatigued or irritable, or do you have more bloating or weight gain than usual, or do you have trouble concentrating or sleeping just prior to your periods?

  • Do you have a sexually transmitted disease, or do you have a fever or foul-smelling vaginal discharge?

  • Do you have pain at other times such as during sex, ovulation or bowel movements?

  • Are your periods heavier or are you bleeding longer than usual?

  • Do you use an IUD?

  • Do you have a constant feeling that you need to urinate, or do you have pelvic pressure, constipation or pain in your back or legs?

  • Do you have muscle aches, swelling or stiffness in your joints, tightness or swelling in your throat, and/or weakness in your legs?

  • Are your periods irregular, infrequent or have they stopped?

  • Do you have breast tenderness, abdominal fullness or nausea?

  • Are you on birth control pills?

  • Are you 35 years old or older?

  • Have you felt sluggish, or have you gained or lost weight without trying?

  • Are you bleeding at times other than your period, or again after having gone through menopause?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    This may be normal MENSTRUAL CRAMPS, or you may have PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS).


    Self Care

    Use over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen for bloating and pain. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Make changes to the way you eat and exercise. Eat smaller, more frequent meals that are high in complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and take a daily multivitamin and calcium. See your doctor if symptoms get worse.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a serious infection around your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus called PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID).


    Self Care

    URGENT
    See your doctor right away. Any infection in the abdomen can be serious.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have ENDOMETRIOSIS, a problem with the lining of the uterus, or OVARIAN CYSTS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    The IUD may have caused this change in the pattern of your bleeding.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    Your symptoms may be from FIBROIDS, noncancerous tumors of the uterus.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a problem with your THYROID GLAND such as HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have an OVARIAN CYST, or you may be PREGNANT.


    Self Care

    If you could be pregnant, do an at-home pregnancy test. If it’s positive, see your doctor for confirmation. If you don’t think you’re pregnant and symptoms continue, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    Some women will miss a period while on BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. There is a small chance you could be PREGNANT.


    Self Care

    Wait to see if you have a period at the end of your next pack of pills. See your doctor if you have signs of pregnancy or you don’t have a period after the second month.


  • Diagnosis

    Periods that stop after years of regularity may be caused by normal or premature MENOPAUSE. Irregular periods may be due to FIBROIDS, HORMONE PROBLEMS, or other medical conditions.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have a HORMONE PROBLEM, such as a THYROID GLAND problem. Periods may stop or become irregular if your weight falls dramatically, as can occur with ANOREXIA NERVOSA.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    Your bleeding could be from FIBROIDSENDOMETRIOSIS, or from a serious condition such as ENDOMETRIAL CANCER.


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away. Early detection of endometrial cancer is important for successful treatment.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    See your doctor right away. Early detection of endometrial cancer is important for successful treatment.