Menstruation: Menstrual Cycle
Are you aware of the fact that every woman on this earth menstruates maximum 450 times on average in her life? For girls, menstruation is the first sign that they turned women and capable of bearing a child. How the experience of monthly cycle is well understood when one passes through her own cycle for the very first time. Still even today many girls shy to discuss periods in open forum when this is something which makes them privileged to bear a child. The actual reality is that female menstrual cycle is very powerful and can make a visible impact on the way she feels from one day to other during the cycle. Still, there are too many things which are still not known to many women on this earth about the menstrual cycle.
Menstruation is a 28 Day Cycle, it moves just Like the Moon:
In maximum cases, we are told that the cycle of period or bleeding ranges between 5 to 7 days. But the period of bleeding is the result of the changes in the entire body over the period of 28- days. Like the way, the moon waxes till it achieves fullness and then starts waning and then moving back to the initial stage. The average period length may vary in the beginning years and may extend to 10 days. After crossing the age of 40 years a considerable reduction in the number of days are found and many have just 2 to 3 days of bleeding till achieving the menopause stage. Some may experience a cycle of 31 to 35 days also.
In some languages, the term period or menstruation comes direct from this moon analogy. In the Shona language spoken in Zimbabwe, menstruation is known as “Kuenda ku mwedzi”, which can be translated to “Going to the moon.” The irony is not lost on me, one of these is more exciting than the other.
2. Lifetime duration of periods
Mathematically counted the average woman starts menstruating at the age of 13 and stops at the age of 51 with an average menstruation of 3-7 days per month. Many also have their first period at the age of 8. This means that the menstrual cycle phases on average have 456 periods spreading over 38 years. In total, roughly there are 2,280 days in woman’s life when they experience bleeding for a period.
3. What are the symptoms or signs of the period?
In close to 30 percent of women in the childbearing age do experience signs of the period which are severe and affect normal day-to-day functioning. You can call them as a sign of a legitimate medical problem for women. Period symptoms are clearly experienced 5-to-10 days before starting of the period. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Abdominal cramping
- Food cravings
- Muscle aches
- Breast tenderness
4. Hormones affecting menstrual cycle:
Periods are controlled by body’s hormones. Each hormone plays a vital role in menstruation.
- Luteinizing hormone + follicle stimulating hormone: Both hormones take the responsibility for making the release of eggs along with the production of estrogen and progesterone.
- Estrogen and progesterone: At the time of the period cycle, these hormones play a role towards thickening of the uterus lining. These hormones play a role towards providing nutrients to the implanted embryo in case of achieved pregnancy. Progesterone also thickens the mucus and helps in increasing body temperature. In case there is no pregnancy happened the level of the hormones lowers down and the normal period cycle starts.
5. The period cycle is ruled by Ovulation:
Ovulation means the release of small eggs (ova) from one or both the ovaries. In maximum cases, the ovulation happens between 12-16 days of 28 days cycle. Ovulation is the time when you are most fertile and have a huge chance of getting pregnant. Women start getting attracted towards men or partner during the ovulation phase and do have a healthy glow on face. Even others also find women attractive during this time more than in the normal days.
What is the volume of blood loss due to menstruation?
What is heavy for one woman may appear to be very normal for another woman? The average volume of blood which one loss during menstrual cycle days is about 30 to 40 milliliters (ml). As per latest studies, 9 out of 10 women are making a blood loss during periods which is less than 80ml. Women having heavy period flow experience 60ml or more than that in each cycle. It is quite normal to find some clumps or clots during your period when the blood moves out of the body. These blood clots may contain some tissues. When the uterus sheds the lining, such tissue leaves the body and is a natural thing to see during the menstrual cycle. Such clots of tissue are not at all any sign of any serious health issues in women.
Why is there bleeding between periods, sometimes?
It is common for spotting or light bleeding between periods happen. There can be many reasons for such types of bleeding and important among them are:
- Started taking new contraceptives? The correct level of estrogen in the body will keep the uterus lining in place. Use of birth control pills can mess the estrogen level and may lead to spotting between the periods.
- Implantation spot: If you are noticing some light spotting and your period dates are long to come then it can be the sign of implantation. This means that you are in your early stage of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding happens when one fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. At the time of embryo implantation sometimes, small blood vessels get erupted which can be the reason for spotting for an expectant mother. The color of this blood is either pink or light brown. Spotting in early pregnancy is normal to see but if same continues even after a confirmed month pregnancy then the medical advice is a must as it can be the sign of ectopic pregnancy.
- Approaching peri-menopausal: Are you are approaching the menopause stage? If yes, then chances are high that between periods you may notice some light spotting.
- Stress is life: Stress has so many side effects on life and it also shows its sign in form of light spotting in women even when periods are not due.
How to get Period cramp relief: Managing menstrual pain
Period cramps occur in women when there is a hike in the levels of chemicals named prostaglandins, causing uterine contractions, pain, and inflammation. A good percentage of the women do complain about cramp and pain during the period days. Menstrual cramps are also known as dysmenorrhea, and it is not a serious issue. There are few well-defined ways which can help in managing such period pain:Go for a low-fat diet to manage Alleviate Period Cramps
- Use safe OTC painkiller which suits your body and advised by your family doctor in case of any physical pain problems.
- Cramp bark tea 3 times a day to relax the uterine from inflammation will go a long way.
- Take Fish Oil supplements 500 milligrams and Vitamin B1 100 milligrams for Natural Relief from period pains
- Take help of Acupuncture specialist for Relaxing the Nervous System
- Making Back massage with popular essential oils can also give relief from such pains
- Include Magnesium enriched food in Your Diet to supports Nerve and Muscle Function
- Drink enough water to keep the body hydrated (Minimum 6 to 8 glasses of water a day)
- Reduce intake of caffeine on the days of period
- Use of hot water bag or bottle in the abdomen area may give great relief to cramp pains
- Practice light exercise to avoid menstruation cramps
- Take hot water bath to relax the whole body and muscles of back and abdomen
It is common to have some odour in the body during period days:
Blood has a distinct ordour, and when it is cleaning the tissues of the uterus with it, it is natural to have a fleshy blood smell. Ensure you keep the genitals clean and change your sanitary napkin or tampon at regular intervals. Genitals will give you a tender feeling during the period days and will be sensitive too. So be careful and clean the area with care and gently to avoid hurting it.
What is better Sanitary pad, Tampon or menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is soft and gentle to the body and contains no bleach in it like sanitary pads and tampons. The absence of any fragrance or chemicals in it makes it a better choice for women to use. The cups are reusable and can be used for several months. Cups are adjustable and can be cut from side to make it fit perfectly inside the vagina. A cup can be used for long hours when compared to pads and tampon. Menstrual cups are designed to hold close to 30 ml of menstrual fluid which is almost 1/3 rd part of the fluid which comes out from the body each month during the period.
One of the most important advantages of using cups is that it saves hefty amount which you use for buying tampons or sanitary pad. But it will be advisable to make use of sanitary pads when you are sleeping to avoid fluid coming out of the body making your dress or bed sheet spoiled. The tampon is having one special quality which makes it an ideal choice for many women. Tampons fit the size of the vagina automatically and you don’t need to cut it to bring it in shape of a vagina. This comes down to comfort. Cups have almost been phased out for that reason. For the lady on the go, newer methods such as tampons and pads offer a more practical way of handling blood flow whilst maintaining usual activities.
Delayed period pain
Yes, you can delay your periods for a week or so follow some natural remedies which will not cause harm to your body. Many times, it happens that your dates are due on some festivals or during the time of your vacation. To avoid spoiling your trip or festival, you may prefer to delay the period for a week. There are few techniques which you can try to check the dates of the period.
- Apple Cider Vinegar for delaying period: Take a glass of water and mix a spoon of ACV and take this daily one week ahead of your date before going to bed.
- Licorice for delaying period: Take one cup of drained rice water with 4 gm of Licorice powder. Take it regularly a week ahead of your date to delay periods.
- Scared Fig for delaying period: Take one hand full of scared leaves. Now blend it well in mixer or blender with water for 4 to 5 mins. Drink it a week before your date and during your period.
- Gram lentils for delaying period: Take 100 gm of lentils and then fry them. Continue doing it till it gets a soft brown color. Now make a powder using your mixture. You need to make a soup using this lentil along with other ingredients. Start taking this soup every day a week before your period date.
- Parsley leaves for delaying periods: Take some parsley leaves and boil it in half a liter of water. Now strain to collect the water. Mix a spoon of honey in it to taste better. This liquid you need to consume 3 times every day. Continue taking the same for a week before your date of the period.
- Lemon for delaying period: Many are not aware of the fact that lemon can be the most natural solution for delaying the date of the period. You need to take just 2 spoons of lemon juice with water every day a week before your date of the period.
How to stay fresh in the period days:
Feeling fresh in the period days is absolutely in your hands. All that you need to you is to keep your body clean. Keep changing your pad, tampon or cups in a regular interval. Do not avoid taking shower and take it using lukewarm water than will rejuvenate your whole body making you feel relaxed and fresh. Use clean undergarments for a fresh feeling. Listen to good music and heal your mind and soul with positive vibes from all around. To restrict foul smell of period, make use of perfume especially in the summer months. Adopt a healthier diet and drink a lot of water to clean your body internally.
13. What if I missed my periods?
The most common reason for missing periods is perhaps pregnancy. This is one of the key indicators for being pregnant, that may cause a lady to get a pregnancy test. If you are sure that this is not the case, there may be other reasons.
Periods are a sign that the body is functioning as it should be. Changes to this equilibrium will mean that your periods may come earlier or much later than expected.
One of the more common causes for this is the use of oral contraceptives. Plan B and Ella One, as well as other forms of contraceptives work by shifting the normal bodily function. When these are altered, the body’s other functions will also be affected.
Hormonal imbalances may lead to some periods that may come after longer than a month, or perhaps less. This may also lead to heavy bleeding as the body regulates. If you have missed your periods for other reasons, it is important to speak with a medical professional.