Effect Of Menstruation On Sickle Cell Disease

Effect Of Menstruation On Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is one type of anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells is lower than normal. This can also be due to reduction in hemoglobin content. This disease is passed down from parents to children.

The normal blood cells are round and smooth and move through blood vessels easily. Sickle cells are hard and they have a curved edge.

These blood cells are unable to go through small blood vessels due to which many tissues don’t get their normal supply of blood. While the normal cells last for 120 days, sickle cells have a shorter life span of 16 days. The body is unable to produce sufficient number of these cells for replenishment. This causes anemia.

The sickle cells cause serious health problems which includes the following:

  • Pain and swelling in hands and feet
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in organs and joints
  • Eye damage
  • Slow growth
  • Infections
  • Stroke
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

Vaso-occlusive crisis is caused when the blood cells obstruct the blood vessels and the blood flow to an organ gets affected. This can result in pain and some times the organ gets damaged. The spleen gets frequently affected due to its narrow vessels and the function of cleaning defective red blood cells. The periodic episodes of vaso-occlusive pain (VOP) are quite common.

Many female patients with sickle cell disease experience pain crisis with the beginning of the menstrual cycle. The menstrual period is known to trigger VOP in many females. The causes of these pain crises are not known. Hormonal treatments such as Depo-Provera are found to be effective in reducing the frequency of VOP crises.

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Effect Of Menstruation On Sickle Cell Disease