Menorrhagia--heavy menstrual bleeding--is experienced by most women at some point in their reproductive years, and for some, it may be a regular occurrence. Menstrual bleeding can be light, medium or heavy in flow, and some women may also experience headaches at this time. The headache may be due directly to amount of blood loss, but there are a few conditions that may encompass both symptoms.
During a normal menstrual cycle, there is a harmonious balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which causes both ovulation and menstruation. These two hormones are controlled by luteinizing hormone, which is located in the pituitary gland. If the level of hormone being released from the pituitary gland is too low or too high, it will cause estrogen and progesterone to become imbalanced. Imbalances in these hormones can cause several reproductive diseases and may exacerbate existing ones. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance are hair thinning, male-pattern hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, infertility, headache, mood swings, fatigue and insomnia. Treatments for hormonal imbalances usually include taking a hormone replacement medication or oral contraceptive. These medications come in monthly packs, patches or cream that must be used daily.
According to Medline Plus, a miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages are caused by chromosome disorders, hormones problems, infection, problems within the mother’s reproductive organs, immune system disorders and serious diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes. According to Medline Plus, an estimated 50 percent of all fertilized eggs die spontaneously before a woman suspects pregnancy, and an estimated 15 to 20 percent miscarry after knowing they are pregnant. The miscarriage rate declines after the baby’s heartbeat has been detected, and miscarriage rates are higher in women who are older than 35 and those who have previous miscarriages. Symptoms of miscarriage include lower back pain, abdominal pain that is dull, sharp or cramping, passing tissue or clot-like material and vaginal bleeding with or without the abdominal cramps. Some women may also experience headaches around this time. These headaches may be caused by the pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep, dehydration, stress and heavy blood loss.
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a wide range of symptoms that occur before a woman’s menstrual bleeding begins. Some women may experience this syndrome for a few months, while others may experience it throughout their reproductive years. According to Women to Women, PMS often gets worse over time and the symptoms may be more prolonged. According to Medline Plus an estimated 75 percent of women in their childbearing years have PMS. Most of these women are in their late 20s or early 40s, have at least one child or have a personal or family history of depression. Symptoms of PMS are abdominal fullness, loading, breast tenderness, clumsiness, cravings, headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, forgetfulness, poor judgment, mood swings, irritability or loss of sex drive.