A woman's menstrual cycle affects many systems in her body. For this reason, disorders of menstruation can have far-reaching effects. If you think behaviors may be related to menstrual cycle, it helps to track them by writing them down on a calendar over a two-month time span.

Behaviors that appear shortly before, during, or shortly after menstruation may communicate about menstrual disorders:

  • Watch for behaviors that:
    • Start within two weeks of menstruation, and improve once it has begun
    • Change in the middle of the menstrual cycle
    • Improve after menopause
  • Sleep problems, fatigue
  • Irritability, anxiety, depression, rapid changes in emotions
  • Change in bowel habits: constipation, diarrhea, more frequent urination
  • Improvement if person takes ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve)

Other factors that may indicate the presence of a menstrual disorder:

  • Family history of menstrual disorders, endometriosis
  • Heavy bleeding, blood clots, pain during periods
  • Spotting or light bleeding between periods
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Menstrual periods that:
  • Come too often (more than once a month)
  • Last too long (more than 8-10 days)
  • Don't come often enough (no period for more than 3 months)

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about a menstrual disorder? Talk with your doctor or other health care provider. They can work with you to learn whether this is the case.