Each woman has a different menstruation cycle. So, while making a choice about conceiving or not
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Menstruation (also called periods) is the monthly shedding of the inner layer of uterus presented as bleeding through the vagina.
In females the body is getting prepared to have a child in future years, there is an onset of the cyclical vaginal bleeding that occurs as a part of a woman's monthly cycle called the Menstrual cycle.
A normal menstrual cycle has an average length of 28 days (+_ 7 days). Normal menstruation lasts for 3-5 days.
Menarche usually starts about 2-3yrs after the initiation of puberty. Menstruation may be irregular initially for the first few years before the attainment of regular ovulatory cycles.
During the cycle, the egg gets released from the ovary and eventually travels towards the uterus anticipating fertilization with sperm. When there is fertilization, pregnancy occurs and when this doesn't happen, the lining of the uterus sheds down and flows out of the body and this is called menstruation. This cyclical occurrence of events that occurs under the influence of hormones release from pituitary gland i.e. brain, is called the menstrual cycle.
A woman may have the following symptoms which are considered quite normal:
Although considered normal if these increases in the severity it is highly recommended to consult a doctor.
Menstrual cycle irregularities
Menstruation is the end result of a complete periodic cycle which is controlled by the hormones released by the brain and the changes happening in the female reproductive organs. Any disruption in this cycle leads to menstrual irregularities. The most common issues are as follows:
Amenorrhoea: It means the absence of menstruation. It may be primary or secondary amenorrhoea depending upon its onset:
Clinical examination, hormone assays, ultrasonography, endoscopic procedures, and genetic testing may be required for the diagnosis of amenorrhoea.
Dysmenorrhea simply means difficult monthly flow. Although it is absolutely normal for most women to experience some sort of abdominal pain or cramps during the first day or two of their periods, some women experience severe pain that hampers their day to day activity.
Dysmenorrhea is of following two types:
Primary dysmenorrhea is which there is no underlying gynecologic problem related to menstrual cramps. Cramps or pain occur due to the normal process of menstruation.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is when menstrual pain is due to some kind of gynecologic disorders like fibroid, Adenomyosis, sexually transmitted infection (STI), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an ovarian cyst or tumor or due to an intrauterine device (IUD).
Symptoms of dysmenorrhea include:
Common Concerns about menstruation
Menstruation is a new beginning for every girl as she transforms from a girl to a woman and her body gets ready for future pregnancy. There can be so many concerns or queries that may arise in the girl’s mind regarding menstruation. Here we discuss some of the major concerns related to menstruation.
What are periods?
Periods are also known as menstruation and are the first five days of the menstrual cycle where the uterine lining is shed and discharged from the vagina along with the ruptured blood vessels and blood.
When are periods normally supposed to start?
Periods usually start between 9-12 years. The onset of periods is also known as menarche and this determines the start of puberty. After menarche, females become reproductively active.
What are the factors that determine menarche?
Genes, population, nutritional habits, hormonal levels of the body, etc. are some of the factors that determine menarche.
How many days, periods are supposed to last?
Periods usually last 3-5 days but may extend to 7 days.
How do I track whether my periods are regular or not?
Normally menstrual cycle lasts for about 21-35 days. At the end of each cycle, another cycle starts. The first day of the cycle is the day when bleeding starts. So, to count a cycle, start from the day of bleeding and count till the next bleeding appears. This is one menstrual cycle. Every month there can be 2-3 days variation in the number of days of the cycle. So if your cycle continues like this all around the year, your periods are regular.
What are irregular periods?
Delayed periods, advanced periods (before time) and missed periods are known as irregular periods or irregular menstruation. Irregular periods may be the presentation of some underlying problem (e.g. PCOD) therefore, it is important to consult the gynecologist to resolve the problem.
Is it normal to have irregular periods?
Usually two years after menarche or when a woman is nearing menopause, periods can be irregular. But if it continues, it is always better to consult the doctor and know the root cause.
What are the causes of irregular periods?
If menstrual pain is a concern for you, consult a doctor and know the real cause of it and get treated.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects almost 90% of menstruating women and is characterized by disturbances in woman's emotions, behaviour and physical health during certain days of the menstrual cycle. It is very common and may occur as early as 2 weeks before the menstrual period or just before the menses.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms in a woman:
PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which numerous small, fluid-filled sacs known as cysts develop in the ovaries. PCOD problem affects the levels of the hormones. It is a situation when woman produce higher than normal amount of male hormones (androgens). This may also hamper the process of ovulation. PCOS symptoms include the following:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult to your doctor and get evaluated and treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Health Hygiene during Menstruation
Hygiene during menstruation is very important and every woman should take care of it to prevent unwanted diseases as women are most susceptible to infection during this period. Here are a few tips that can help you deal with those difficult days of the month:
Although many women complaint of heavy bleeding, it is only a cause of concern if the bleeding is so heavy that it affects normal activities when you have your period. If this is the case of your daughter, talk with your doctor and know the real cause of excessive bleeding and get her treated.
Though PMS is a condition that affects almost 90% of menstruating women every month if it affects you badly, then you can visit a specialist for better management.
It is very important for you to share this news with your mother as she can guide you with her experience. Just sit calmly, tell her and discuss all your concerns. It is a very natural process and is not at all a thing to hide.
Most women experience blood clots in their menstrual flow and it is somewhat normal too. But if you pass many large and thick clots with regularly very heavy bleeding (need to change your pad or tampon every hour) then it is advised to visit a specialist.
Menstrual irregularity can be because of so many reasons as discussed above. And most importantly persistent irregular cycles can be a sign of an underlying disorder that should be diagnosed and treated. It may cause difficulty in pregnancy and it is highly recommended to get the consultation of a specialist
No, soaps should not be used for vaginal hygiene during menstruation. Vagina has its own cleaning mechanism and soap can hamper the natural process leading to infections and growth of bacteria.
You need to first calculate your cycle days. The first day of the cycle is the day when bleeding starts. So to count a cycle, starting from the day of bleeding and count till the next bleeding appears. This is one menstrual cycle and at the end of each cycle, another cycle starts. Every month there can be 2-3 days variation in the number of days of the cycle. As normal menstrual cycle lasts for about 21-35 days, so if your cycle continues after approximately the same number of days all around the year, your periods are regular and there is no need to worry. But if this is not the case, then you must
consult a specialist.
PCOS seems to run in families too, so it may affect you if someone in your family has it. But there is just a possibility, it is not sure that you will definitely have PCOS. Stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent yourself.
Though cramps during periods are mainly because of natural menstruation process, it can also be due to causes like PCOD, endometriosis, fibroid, etc. If the cramps affect your daily activities during menstruation, it is advised to consult a specialist.