Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed. This shedding of the uterine linking is the menstrual blood flow. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. There can be problems with a woman's period, including heavy bleeding, pain, or skipped periods. Causes of these problems may be amenorrhea (lack of a period), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), or abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding. There are a variety of situations in which a girl or woman should see a doctor about her menstrual cycle. Read more: Menstruation (Menstrual Cycle) Article
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Pelvic Pain: What's Causing Your Pelvic Pain?
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Related Disease Conditions
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms include missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
PMS vs. Pregnancy (Differences and Similarities)
Many women have difficulty figuring out if they are pregnant, have PMS, or are about to start their period. The most common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy, PMS, and the start of your period include mood swings, back pain, increased urination, and tender breasts. These three conditions also share other similar signs and symptoms, but there are unique differences between each. Moreover, there are symptoms that only occur if you are pregnant. Early pregnancy symptoms, PMS, and the start of the menstrual period all have common signs and symptoms like mood swings, back pain, and breast pain. Symptoms and signs between the three conditions that may seem similar, but are slightly different include the following: Pelvic or abdominal cramping before or during your menstrual period is normal; however, the cramping of early pregnancy is mild. If you are pregnant, nausea and vomiting, or morning sickness, is common. They are not common symptoms of PMS. Fatigue is common in both, but PMS usually goes away once your period begins. Food cravings or aversions to certain foods are common in both pregnancy and PMS, but if you are pregnant, the cravings or aversions to foods are more specific and intense. You may have spotting or bleeding if you are pregnant or suffering from PMS. When the embryo inserts itself into the uterus (implantation bleeding), you may mistake it as your menstrual period. However, implantation bleeding is much lighter (not enough to soak a pad or tampon) than the heaving bleeding experienced at the beginning of your period. Signs and symptoms that you may have only if you are pregnant include, implantation cramping and bleeding, a white, milky vaginal discharge, and your areolas or nipples darken. The only way to find out if you are pregnant is with a pregnancy test. Home pregnancy test kits are available without a prescription at pharmacies and most grocery stores. Contact a doctor or other health care professional if you think you may be pregnant.
Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder. Endometriosis may not produce any symptoms, but when it does the most common symptom is pelvic pain that worsens just prior to menstruation and improves at the end of the menstrual period. Other symptoms of endometriosis include pain during sex, pain with pelvic examinations, cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination, and infertility. Treatment of endometriosis can be with medication or surgery.
Bleeding During Pregnancy (First Trimester)
Bleeding during pregnancy is never normal. Causes of bleeding during the first trimester of a pregnancy may be caused by implantation bleeding, ectopic or tubal pregnancy, subchorionic hemorrhaging, infections, and miscarriage. Bleeding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors.
Spotting vs. Period
Menstruation (a female's "period") occurs due to the shedding of the lining of the uterus. Menstrual bleeding lasts about three to five days, and the bleeding is heavy the first couple of days and then it lessens. Spotting is vaginal bleeding between periods.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
Vulvodynia or vaginal pain, genital pain is a condition in which women have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. There are two types of vulvodynia, generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis. Researchers are trying to find the causes of vulvodynia, for example, nerve irritation, genetic factors, hypersensitivity to yeast infections, muscle spasms, and hormonal changes.The most common symptoms of vaginal pain (vulvodynia) is burning, rawness, itching, stinging, aching, soreness, and throbbing. There are a variety of treatments that can ease the symptoms of vulvodynia (vaginal pain).
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Though uterine cancer's cause is unknown, there are many factors that will put a woman at risk, including being over age 50, having endometrial hyperplasia, using hormone replacement therapy, obesity, using tamoxifen, being Caucasian, and/or having colorectal cancer. Symptoms and signs of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer) include abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful urination, painful intercourse, and pelvic pain. Treatment depends on staging and may include radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
Women's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and diseases that may occur. Educating yourself so that the transitions into different phases of life is key to a healthy, happy, and productive life.
A dry socket is a potential complication that can occur when a blood clot in the gums becomes dislodged after a tooth extraction. Dry socket signs and symptoms include pain, mouth odor, and unpleasant taste in the mouth. A dentist may treat a dry socket with analgesic dressing. Over-the-counter pain medications can also relieve symptoms. A dry socket usually heals within 7 days. Avoiding smoking, drinking with a straw, and vigorous rinsing and spitting may help prevent the formation of dry socket.
Uterine Fibroids (Benign Tumors of the Uterus)
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors in the womb (uterus). Most uterine fibroids do not cause symptoms; however, if the fibroid is large enough and in the right location, it may cause symptoms of pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and pressure on the bladder or rectum. Uterine fibroids that remain small and do not grow usually do not need treatment; however, surgery to remove the fibroid may be necessary. Uterine fibroids do not cause cancer; however, there is a rare, fast-growing cancerous called leiomyosarcoma.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Fibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually pain, tenderness, and discomfort in one or both breasts. The condition is very common and benign (not malignant). Fibrocystic breast condition is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" in women. A common symptom of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort. Some women with fibrocystic breasts have mile breast tenderness or pain. Other women with the condition may have very painful and tender breasts with lumpy areas that can be felt. Fibrocystic breast condition is most common in women after age 30, which continues through perimenopause and menopause. Women with the condition often have fewer problems after menopause (postmenopause).Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with fibrocystic without fibrocystic changes. Natural and home remedies to help relieve breast pain include NSAIDs like aspiring, Aleve, and Advil. Prescription medication also may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD has also been referred to as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder. The cause of PMDD is unknown. Some of the common symptoms of PMDD (not an inclusive list) include mood swings, bloating, fatigue, headache, irritability, headache, breast tenderness, acne, and hot flashes. Treatment for PMDD is with medication to treat the symptoms of PMDD.
POTS (POT Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
POT syndrome (POTS, postrual orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) is a nervous system disorder that causes lightheadedness and fainting when a person stands up. Treatment may include increasing blood volume and regulating circulatory problems that are responsible for the disorder.
Pimple vs. Cold Sore
Pimples are areas of skin inflammation with pus in the center. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters. Pimples are caused by bacterial overgrowth and inflammation. Cold sores are caused by infection with herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Benzoyl peroxide and sometimes antibiotics treat acne. Antiviral medications accelerate the healing process of oral herpes.
The time when boys and girls begin the process of sexual maturation is called puberty. During this time, both sexes undergo a series of biological changes that include a rapid increase in height, bone growth, weight increase, the growth of pubic hair, breast development and the onset of menstruation in girls, and testicle, penis, and muscle enlargement in boys.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Breast Lumps (in Women)
Breast lumps in women can have a variety of causes such as breast inflammation, infection, injuries, cancer, and non-cancerous growths. Breast lumps in women are diagnosed with physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy. Treatment of breast lumps in women depend on the cause.
IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea)
IBS-D or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea refers to IBS with diarrhea. Symptoms of IBS-D include intestinal gas (flatulence), loose stools, frequent stools, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. New non-FDA approved IBS tests may help diagnose IBS and IBS-D. Treatment of IBS-D is geared to toward managing symptoms with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition in which affected individuals have severe nausea and vomiting that come in cycles. Researchers believe that cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine headaches are related. Triggers of cyclic vomiting syndrome are emotional stress and infections. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are at an increased risk of dehydration. Cyclic vomiting syndrome is difficult to diagnose. Treatment varies from person to person, but is generally directed toward relief of the symptoms of the condition.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve abnormality. Usually, people with mitral valve prolapse have no signs and symptoms; however, if the prolapsed valve is severe, symptoms may appear. When symptoms of severe mitral valve prolapse do appear, they may include, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, anxiety, migraine headaches, and pulmonary edema. Echocardiography is the most useful test for mitral valve prolapse. Most people with mitral valve need no treatment. However, if the valve prolapse is severe, treatment medications or surgery may be necessary to repair the heart valve.
Getting Pregnant (Tips for Trying to Conceive)
Trying to get conceive, or become pregnant can be challenging, frustrating, and an emotional rollercoaster for some couples. A couple can chart their progress, which may ultimately lead to a successful healthy pregnancy, or, when necessary, lead to discussions with a fertility specialist. If you're a woman, be aware of your menstrual cycle, and you can track when you are fertile during the month using the: Basal body temperature method Calendar method Ovulation method (cervical mucus) About 10% of women in the US have problems getting pregnant, or carrying a pregnancy full term. Both men and women can have fertility problems. In fact, men and women each contribute about 1/3 when it comes to fertility problems. The other 1/3 are caused by a mixture of problems with both men and women or other problems that aren't identifiable.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms including irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman's stage of life and the symptoms of PCOS.
Benign uterine growths are tissue enlargements of the female womb (uterus). Three types of benign uterine growths are uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and uterine polyps. Symptoms include abdominal pressure and pain, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, and pain during bowel movements. Diagnosis and treatment of benign uterine growths depends upon the type of growth.
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Medication Guide
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
Iron is a mineral our bodies need. Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from not enough iron in the body. It is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause in the US. Iron deficiency is caused due to increased iron deficiency from diseases, nutritional deficiency, or blood loss and the body's inability to intake or absorb iron. Children, teen girls, pregnant women, and babies are at most risk for developing iron deficiency. Symptoms of iron deficiency include feeling weak and tired, decreased work or school performance, slow social development, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function, and an inflamed tongue. Blood tests can confirm an iron deficiency in an individual. Treatment depends on the cause of the deficiency. Proper diet that includes recommended daily allowances of iron may prevent some cases of iron deficiency.
Amenorrhea (including hypothalmic amenorrhea) is a condition in which there is an absence of menstrual periods in a woman. There are two types of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. Treatment of amenorrhea depends on the type. In primary, surgery may be an option and in secondary amenorrhea medication or lifestyle changes may be treatment options. We go over the definition of amenorrhea, causes, and treatment options for amenorrhea.
Infertility is the diminished ability to conceive a child. Infertility can be a problem with both men and women. Infertility in men can be caused by medical conditions, unhealthy habits, and toxins from the environment. Infertility in women can be caused by problems with ovarian function, the Fallopian tubes, or the physical characteristics of the uterus. Methods of conceiving for couples that cannot conceive include intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), specific drugs, assisted reproductive technology (ART), surgery, and gestational carrier.
Insomnia (Symptoms, Causes, Remedies, and Cures)
Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an infection caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus. Toxic shock syndrome symptoms include low blood pressure, fever, and a rash with peeling skin. Treatment involves IV fluids to treat the shock, IV antibiotics, cleaning infected wounds, and hospitalization in the intensive care for other assorted treatments.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI)
Primary ovarian iInsufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI) is the cessation of normal functioning of the ovaries in women under the age of 40. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by follicle depletion or dysfunction. The most common symptom of premature ovarian failure are irregular periods. There is no "treatment" that will restore the ovarian function, but there are treatments that my relieve symptoms.
Disease Prevention for Teens
Teenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.
Central Precocious Puberty?
Central precocious puberty is characterized by the unusual early onset of puberty -- in girls, prior to 8 years of age, and boys, prior to 9 years of age. The appearance of secondary sex changes -- enlargement of penis and testicles and development of breast tissue and facial, pubic, and axillary hair -- in central precocious puberty precedes that of routine onset of puberty by two and a half years. Treatment of central precocious puberty depends upon the cause.
Reproductive health encompasses the beginning of menstruation for women, choosing the right birth control method for you and your partner, preventing contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and for women, ending with the menopausal transition.
Local ResourcesFind a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Cox-2 Inhibitors
- Ibuprofen (Advil) vs. Naproxen (Aleve): Comparison of Differences
- Lysteda (tranexamic acid)
- vitexagnus castus (Chaste Tree)
- etodolac, Lodine (Discontinued)
- fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
- meclofenamate (Meclomen)
- blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria, Spirulina)
- Side Effects of Feldene (piroxicam)
- Side Effects of Lysteda (tranexamic acid)
Prevention & Wellness
- FDA Approves Oriahnn For Menstrual Bleeding
- Irregular Periods, Shorter Life Span?
- Is Your Daughter, the Athlete, Eating Enough?
- Menstrual Cups Equal Pads, Tampons in Effectiveness, Data Shows
- Apple Watch Adding Menstrual Cycle Tracker
- Fewer Periods May Mean Higher Dementia Risk
- Early-Onset Menstruation Linked to Later High Blood Pressure Risk
- Two-Thirds of Poor U.S. Women Can't Afford Menstrual Pads, Tampons: Study
- Health Tip: Help Relieve Menstrual Pain
- Health Tip: Things to Remember About Acne
- Health Tip: Use Tampons Safely
- Can Type 2 Diabetes Lead to Irregular Periods for Teen Girls?
- Even Organic Cotton Tampons Can Cause Toxic Shock: Study
- Early Periods May Heighten Obesity Risk Later
- Early Periods Tied to Mental Health Issues Into Adulthood
- Could Smoggy Air Affect a Girl's Periods?
- Early Periods, Higher Heart Risks?
- Are Her Chocolate Cravings a Product of the Culture?
- Does Early Puberty Affect a Girl's Academic Achievement?
- Estrogen May Influence Women's Depression Risk
- Concussion Can Spur Short-Term Change in Women's Periods
- No Such Thing as Menstrual Memory Fog
- Health Tip: Exercise During Menopause
- Keep an Eye Out for Eating Disorders in Loved Ones
- Lower-Income Girls in U.S. Feel Unprepared for Puberty
- Menopause and a Decline in Intimacy
- DNA May Influence Your Reproductive Decisions
- Know Your Risk for Ovarian Cancer -- and the Symptoms
- Later Start, Finish to Menstruation May Extend Women's Lives
- Health Tip: Hormones Can Affect Women's Dental Health
- Base Quit-Smoking Day on Menstrual Cycle?
- Exploring the Link Between Estrogen and Migraines
- Toxic Shock Cases: More Than a Blip?
- Coagadex Approved for Rare Clotting Disorder
- Women's Faces Are Redder During Ovulation, Study Says
- Soda Habit May Prompt Early Puberty in Girls, Study Suggests
- Study Ties Teen Smoking to Risk of Severe Menstrual Cramps
- Who's a Hunk Depends on Time of the Month
- Health Tip: Need Extra Iron?
- Health Tip: Get More Restful Sleep
- Time of Month May Affect Women's Concussion Recovery
- Earlier Onset of Periods May Not Mean Earlier Sex
- Childhood Obesity Again Tied to Earlier Puberty in Girls
- Hormone Levels May Help Predict Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds
- Plastics Chemicals Tied to Reproductive Woes for Both Sexes
- Talking to Your Daughter About Puberty
- Shift Work Might Affect Women's Periods, Fertility: Study
- IUD May Be Best for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- Early Menstruation Tied to Factors That Raise Heart Disease Risk
- Women's Respiratory Symptoms May Vary With Menstrual Cycle
- Are Knee Injuries Tied to Menstrual Cycle?
- Health Tip: Am I at Risk for Endometriosis?
- Health Tip: Factors That Can Worsen Acne
- Health Tip: Are You at Risk for Anemia?
- Child Abuse Might Alter Onset of Menstruation in Girls
- Menstrual Cycles May Affect Women's Shopping Patterns
- Can Fertility Treatments Influence Later Breast Cancer Risk?
- Health Tip: What Triggers Your Migraines?
- Weight-Loss Surgery May Also Help Menstruation, Skin, Hair
- Afinitor Approval Expanded to Include Benign Kidney Tumors
- Severe PMS May Last Longer Than Thought
- For Sleep Struggles, Women Urged to Alter Routines
- 'The Pill' Can Help Ease Period Pain, Study Finds
- New Warning Added to Avastin Label
- Health Tip: Menstruation Often Affects Mood
- Gene Mutation Found in Uterine Fibroids
- Some Athletic Girls Risk Stress Fractures
- Fibromyalgia Gets Worse During Menstruation
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