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What is Polymenorrhea?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The term polymenorrhea is used to describe a condition when women have periods at much shorter intervals, usually less than 21 days apart. It can be a frustrating thing to endure, and periods may not be regular or predictable either. It also may affect fertility or attempts to get pregnant because ovulation may occur sooner than expected, possibly even when a period is ongoing.

Polymenorrhea should be distinguished from spotting or metrorrhagia. It isn’t a day or so of light bleeding between periods. Instead it is an actual period that occurs shortly after the last one and the condition causes concern when it occurs regularly. While women may regularly have polymenorrhea, occasionally heavy stress or other factors will cause a period to show up early. This may only occur once, however, and isn’t of great concern. Women who are in the thick of menopause might have some instances of this as the cycle can become irregular.

Sometimes the cause can’t be identified. On the other hand, the cause of polymenorrhea may be easy find and may be related to certain medical conditions. Some of them are quite serious. Women with endometriosis may experience this condition. It can also be a symptom of the very serious pelvic inflammatory disorder. Alternately, it may indicate the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Many times there is no dangerous illness associated with polymenorrhea. However, it can make getting pregnant very challenging. It often means that the luteal phase, the time between ovulation and a period, is too short. Birth control pills might correct the luteal phase and result in space between periods lengthening, but they problematically stop ovulation from occurring. There are medications like clomiphene, which may be used to increase fertility, and may be helpful if a woman is having trouble getting pregnant due to a short luteal phase.

In general, it's worthwhile to investigate the causes with a competent doctor, and women may want to choose a gynecologist for this. They specialize in the female reproductive system, and are quite used to dealing with problems associated with menstrual irregularities. Since this condition can run the gamut from near normal menstruation to polymenorrhea resulting from serious illness, it’s important to try to figure out cause.

There are also may be some issues associated with frequent bleeding that require treatment. Some women might become anemic if bleeding is also heavy and is occurring often. This risk warrants seeking a doctor’s advice to ensure continued good health.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By calabama71 — On Jul 19, 2010

@alex94: There is not a specific treatment for polymenorrhea. However, the underlying cause can be treated which usually resolves the symptoms. For example, some women experience polymenorrhea during menopause transition. In that case, hormone replacement therapy can help with the symptoms.

Other things such as stress, anxiety, and mood disorders can cause polymenorrhea. In those cases, treating those disorders can help your symptoms.

By alex94 — On Jul 19, 2010

Is there a medication that can be taken to reduce the symptoms of polymenorrhea?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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