and Menstrual Problems
keep track of when their periods start and when they
expect their next period; this not only helps determine
pregnancy, but also helps women and their health care
providers evaluate other reproductive health conditions.
A number of symptoms surrounding menstruation can cause a
great deal of worry. Most fall within the "normal"
range of symptoms, but a woman needs to pay attention to
all symptoms to determine what is "normal" for
her. If you are uncertain, seek the advice of a health
an absence or abnormal stoppage of menstruation,. In
college women this can be associated with stress, sever
dieting including eating disorders, increased levels of
excercise, and illness. Or, it could indicate a pregnancy.
In any case, if you have kept track of your cycles and
know what is normal for you, you can help a health
professional evaluate the missed period.
Dysmenorrhea is painful menstruation. It is normal to
experience some pain and cramping as part of the
menstrual cycle. If menstrual pain interferes with your
normal activities, ask your health care professional for
advice. While keeping track of your cycles, you might
also want to develop a personal index that measures how
uncomfortable you are through your cycle. If pain
increases over "normal" for you it would be
helpful for the health professional to be able to assess
both the length of the cycle, number of days of flow, and
intensity of the pain.
Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, refers to a combination of
symptoms experienced by many women during the menstrual
cycle, usually just before menstrual bleeding begins. The
intensity and range of symptoms vary widely. Symptoms may
include temporary (water) weight gain or a bloated
feeling, headaches, cramps, tender breasts, tension, skin
outbreaks and depression. All of these may occur to some
degree when hormonal balances change. Women are
encouraged to keep track of their cycle and symptoms to
document for themselves their own pattern. Diet (low
sodium/salt, increased fluids, high fiber, high complex
carbohydrates, low fat and low sugar), exercise, massage,
relaxation techniques, and prescription medication may be
helpful in alleviating symptoms. Researchers are
investigating the relationship of PMS to certain vitamins
and minerals. Check with your health care provider about
the advisability of taking extra nutrients to relieve PMS.
TSS is a rare bacterial-cause illness occuring mostly in
young women during their menstrual periods, especially in
women who are using high-absorbency tampons. Symptoms
include the sudden onset of a fever over 102 F, vomiting,
diarrhea, and a rash on the hands or feet. These symptoms
can rapidly lead ot loss of blood pressure and shock. If
these symptoms appear, consult a physician or go to an
emegency room immediately.
from The College Student's Health
Guide, Sandra Smith &
For information on vaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease,
urinary tract infections, scabies, or crabs, please see
our STD page.