MENORRHAGIA
MENSTRUATION, IRREGULAR
Psychological symptoms, such as poor
concentration, tearfulness, loss of inter-
est in sex, and depression, are also
often attributed to the menopause.
Changes in
metabolism
occur during the
menopause but may not cause symp-
toms until later. Bones become thinner,
and
osteoporosis
may develop. There is
also an increased level of fats in the
blood, which may cause an increase in
atherosclerosis
and a higher incidence
of
coronary artery disease
and
stroke
.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
may relieve
menopausal
symptoms.
HRT reduces the risk of fractures associ-
ated with osteoporosis. However, it has
been associated with a slightly in-
creased risk of
breast cancer
.
For most
women, treatment is recommended for
a duration of around
10
years.
menorrhagia
Excessive loss of blood
during
menstruation
.
Menorrhagia may
be caused by an imbalance of
oestrogen
hormones
and
progesterone hormone
,
which control menstruation. The imbal-
ance causes an excessive build-up of
endometrium
(lining of the uterus). Dis-
orders that affect the uterus, such as
fibroids
,
polyps
, or a
pelvic infection
, can
also cause menorrhagia.
Treatment may include
nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs
, drugs that affect
blood clotting, hormones, or the fitting
of an
IUD
(intrauterine device) that
releases small amounts of
progestogen
.
Menorrhagia may also be treated by
endometrial ablation
.
menotrophin
A
gonadotrophin hormone
given as a drug to stimulate cell activity
in the
ovaries
and testes. It is used as a
treatment for certain types of male and
female
infertility
, as it prepares the
ovary for ovulation and may help stimu-
late sperm production. It is used along
with human chorionic gonadotrophin
(see
gonadotrophin, human chorionic
).
In women, menotrophin may cause
multiple pregnancy, abdominal pain,
bloating, and weight gain. In men, it
may cause enlargement of the breasts.
menstruation
The periodic shedding of
endometrium
, accompanied by bleed-
ing, that occurs in women who are not
pregnant. It usually begins at
puberty
and continues until the
menopause
.
Menstruation occurs at the end of the
menstrual cycle, which usually lasts for
28 days (the normal range is 21-35 days).
At the beginning of the cycle, a hormone
from the
pituitary gland
stimulates an
egg
follicle
in an
ovary
to mature. The
follicle secretes
oestrogen hormones,
which make the endometrium thicken.
Ovulation
(release of an egg from the
follicle) usually occurs in the middle of
the menstrual cycle. The empty follicle
also produces
progesterone hormone,
which makes the endometrium become
swollen and thick with retained fluid.
This enables a fertilized egg to implant
in the endometrium. If pregnancy fails
to occur, the production of oestrogens
and progesterone diminishes. The endo-
metrium is then shed about 14 days
after ovulation.
Uterine contractions
force the menstrual discharge to be
expelled into the vagina, accompanied
by bleeding, which may last for
1-8
days.
menstruation, disorders of
An abnor-
mality in the monthly cycle of menstrual
bleeding. Menstrual disorders may be a
sign of a problem in the pelvic area,
such as
fibroids
,
endometriosis
, or
pelvic
inflammatory disease
, but the cause is
often unknown.
Dysmenorrhoea
(painful periods) is the
most common type of menstrual disor-
der. Other types of menstrual disorder
are
amenorrhoea
(absence of menstrua-
tion ), polymenorrhoea
(too frequent
menstruation), oligomenorrhoea (infre-
quent periods or scanty blood loss),
and
menorrhagia
(excessive bleeding).
Some women have extreme variations
in the length of menstrual cycles or
menstrual periods, or in the amount of
blood lost (see
menstruation, irregular
).
menstruation, irregular
A variation
in the normal pattern of
menstruation.
Irregular menstruation can include vari-
ations in the interval between periods,
in the duration of menstrual bleeding,
or in the amount of blood that is lost.
The most common cause of irregular
menstruation is a disturbed balance of
oestrogen hormones
and
progesterone
hormone
. Other causes include
stress
,
travel, a change in the method of
con-
traception
, unsuspected pregnancy, or
early
miscarriage.
364
previous page 362 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online next page 364 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online Home Toggle text on/off