The term “overactive bladder” is a phrase used to describe a handful of symptoms affecting the urinary tract. The sudden urge to urinate is a common symptom, as is involuntarily leaking urine (also known as incontinence). Urinating more than eight times in a 24-hour timespan or getting up during the night more than twice to go to the bathroom can also be signs of an overactive bladder.
Overactive bladder can be treated through strategies such as muscle exercises and holding techniques, as well as the use of certain medications. A conversation with your doctor can help you determine whether or not you suffer from an overactive bladder and how to alleviate the symptoms associated with it.
Abnormal Periods / Irregular Menstrual Cycles
A period is the part of woman’s menstrual cycle occurring after the release of an egg (ovulation). During this time the uterus sheds its lining, resulting in a discharge of blood out of the vagina.
Many women experience menstrual cycles consisting of periods occurring every 28 days and lasting for a few days up to a week. However, every woman’s body is different and what’s normal for one woman could be abnormal for others.
Given that every woman has her own unique cycle, how can you know if you are experiencing something “abnormal?” Deviating from your typical cycle in any way is a good indicator. This can include: losing more or producing less blood than you typically do; inconsistency of the number of days between cycles; and/or long-lasting periods accompanied by more severe symptoms than what you usually experience.
Irregular periods occur when a woman experiences changes in her cycle that deviate from her past periods. This irregularity can include a variation in the number of days between periods, an increase or decrease in the number of days a period lasts, and/or any unusual symptom that has not occurred during previous cycles.
Most of the time, irregular periods are nothing to worry about, or rather, they don’t require significant treatment unless they become inhibiting. However, there are some common causes of irregular periods that might require additional care, such as polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism. Treating these underlying conditions can alleviate the symptoms of irregular periods.
Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
Excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) is a term used to describe periods that include abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. This is often a debilitating condition in which a woman may feel like she cannot go about her daily activities because of severe blood loss, cramping, and pain.
What constitutes “excessive” bleeding? The Mayo Clinic lists the following criteria, among others:
- Soaking through tampons and pads, every hour for several hours
- Bleeding for longer than seven days
- Passing large blood clots (the size of a quarter or bigger)
- Tiredness, fatigue, or shortness of breath (which could indicate anemia)
Sometimes excessive bleeding can be a sign of a more serious health issue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and feel concerned, talk to your doctor about what could be causing the bleeding and what treatments might help alleviate your symptoms.