Menstruation is a process when the uterine lining discharges blood, tissues, and other materials through the vagina. The period occurs every month from puberty upto menopause. However, the period stops when a woman is pregnant. Shedding the uterine lining occurs when the sperm fails to fertilize an egg.
The blog comprehensively explains the menstrual cycle, symptoms, and tips to treat menstruation pain.
What is menstruation?
As mentioned above, a period, commonly known as menstruation or a menstrual cycle, occurs once a month when the uterine lining breaks down and is released from the body. Blood, tissue, and nutrients make up the lining, and its development every month denotes the body’s preparation for pregnancy.
If there is no fertilization of the egg by the sperm, hormones prompt the body to shed the endometrium lining, resulting in a period. The duration of the menstrual cycle fluctuates from one woman to another.
How long does a woman menstruate?
Periods begin between the 8 to 15 age group when a woman’s body starts to transform. It’s essential to bear in mind that periods are unique to each woman. Thus symptoms, age during which periods begin and stop, and the length of each menstrual cycle range from person to person. As a general rule, if a girl’s period hasn’t started by the age of 16, it is an indicator that she should see a doctor and find the cause for the delay.
Women stop menstruating when they attain menopause, usually between the age group of 45 to 55.
What are the symptoms of menstruation?
Symptoms can appear two weeks before a menstrual cycle begins. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a set of symptoms women typically experience.
Some of the symptoms encountered are:
- Back pain
- Pimples/acne breakouts
- Mood swings
- Insomnia and hypersomnia
- Headache and fatigue
- Abdominal cramps
- Breast tenderness
- Bloating in the stomach
- Pain or discomfort in the pelvic floor
When to seek medical help?
Some medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian disease, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis affect the menstrual cycle. It is vital to discuss concerning symptoms such as:
- Excess uterine bleeding
- Any postmenopausal bleeding
- Delayed menstrual cycle.
- Delayed period for more than 90 days
- Irregular bleeding between periods
- Excessive bleeding that requires frequent pad changes every 1 to 2 hours
- Severe pain
- Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, a bacterial infection more commonly associated with tampon use
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What are the different ways to manage the symptoms?
Every month women experience these symptoms. The following may help ease off the symptoms during menstruation:
- Dietary changes such as restricted consumption of fat, salt, sugar, coffee, and alcohol play a significant role in alleviating the symptoms
- Regular workouts and exercises
- Pain can be managed by heat therapy and by certain medications
Can a woman get pregnant during her periods?
Whilst there are fewer chances for a woman to get pregnant during menstruation, it is always a wise option to use contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
Can periods be delayed? What should a woman do?
Periods do not always appear on the exact 28th day of the month. Hence, it is common for a woman to have delayed periods.
A standard menstrual cycle lasts 21-34 days. Although, there are numerous reasons for the delay in a menstrual cycle, including body weight changes, anxiety and stress, dietary changes, medication, strenuous exercise, and other lifestyle habits. Even if the sexually active woman uses contraceptives, it is essential to take a pregnancy test if the period has not shown up in less than 35 days.
Consulting a gynaecologist is vital if the woman has not indulged in sexual activities. The doctor may carry out assessments to evaluate the reason for the irregularity.
The period or menstrual cycle is unique to each woman. It is also crucial to consult expert Gynecologists at Apollo Hospitals if any of the symptoms mentioned above become excessive and begin to interfere with a woman’s quality of life.
The doctor would be able to reduce the severity and frequency of the problems.