Merck Manual

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Deciphering Medical Terms for Menstrual Disorders*

Deciphering Medical Terms for Menstrual Disorders*

Term

Description

No periods

Dysmenorrhea

Menstrual cramps or painful periods

Hypomenorrhea

Unusually light periods

Menometrorrhagia

Heavy bleeding during menstrual periods and bleeding that occurs frequently and irregularly between periods

Menorrhagia (hypermenorrhea)

Unusually long and/or heavy periods

Metrorrhagia

Bleeding that occurs frequently and irregularly between periods

Oligomenorrhea

Unusually infrequent periods

Polymenorrhea

Unusually frequent periods

Postmenopausal bleeding

Bleeding that occurs after menopause

Severe psychologic symptoms that occur before the start of a period, end when or shortly after the period starts, and interfere with daily activities and/or relationships

Physical and psychologic symptoms that occur before the start of a period

Primary amenorrhea

No periods ever starting (at puberty)

Secondary amenorrhea

Periods that have stopped

* Breaking the words into their components helps decipher them: a = no; dys = painful (or abnormal); hypo = deficient (or below normal); men = month; metro = uterus; oligo = few or scanty; poly = many or much; post = after; pre = before; rhagia = to burst forth; rhea = flow.