Menstrual History

Definition - What does Menstrual History mean?

Menstrual history is a component of history-taking that a doctor will take during an exam that involves asking questions to gather information about the menstrual bleeding pattern in a woman in view of evaluating the underlying cause for infertility. The occurrence of menstrual bleeding corresponds to the ovarian cycle, therefore, an abnormality in menstruation is likely to reflect an abnormality in the ovulation or less commonly a defect in the uterus. Information gathered from the menstrual history can help the clinician to decide the next steps in the management of infertility in a woman.

FertilitySmarts explains Menstrual History

History taking is the first and the most important step in the evaluation of an infertile couple and is followed by physical examination and investigations. A detailed menstrual history can be helpful in detecting likely underlying causes of infertility and point the direction for further investigation.

Important information that is obtained during the menstrual history of an infertile woman includes:

  • First date of the most recent menstrual bleeding (Last menstrual period)
  • Age at which menarche was attained
  • Regularity of cycles from menarche to present
  • Length of menstrual cycles
  • Duration and nature of bleeding (heavy bleeding, clotting)
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (bleeding in between periods, bleeding after sex)
  • Other symptoms associated with menstruation (eg: pain, mood changes)

The presence of normal and regular menstruation typically indicates that ovulation occurs normally. Irregular or absent menstrual bleeding is often a sign of a defect in ovulation due to a number of causes such as hormone abnormalities or disorders of the function of the ovaries. Regular but heavy menstrual bleeding could be due to an abnormality in the uterus such as uterine growth or fibroid. Endometriosis can cause severe pain related to menstruation

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