MENSTRUATION PERIODS – Complete guide

Menstruation or monthly period is the normal vaginal blood flow that every female of reproductive age undergoes every month if ovum fertilization or pregnancy doesn’t take place.

menstruation
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Menstrual flow is a mixture of blood and mucosal tissue (known as menses) from the inner uterine lining.

HOW MENSTRUATION OCCURS

Menstruation occurs due to the changes in hormones progesterone and estrogen in the female body. These hormones cause the uterine inner lining to swell in preparation for a fertilized ovum to attach to and develop. If a fertilized egg is not available, the lining breaks down and thereby, menstruation occurs.

This process happens every month on women of reproductive age

HOW LONG DOES MENSTRUATION TAKE?

The menstruation period can sometimes become abnormal, especially if it takes longer than usual.

The actual range of menstrual flow is between 2 days to 7 days. Most periods, though last for approximately three to five days in many women.

Sudden greater change in menstruation length, for example, your period suddenly changing from 3 days to 8 days, should be something to worry and we advise you seek advice from a medical expert.

On the other hand, perimenopause, which is a time leading to your final period can lead to a sudden drop in length of menstruation. Also, a sudden shorter menstruation period can be a sign of pregnancy which is normally termed as implantation bleeding and most people usually mistake it for a menstruation period.

Longer menstruation can be caused by having missed periods in the past months. Missing menstruation can be caused by the body producing low quantities of hormones responsible for menstruation, thus causing the uterine wall not to swell and mature at the expected dates. When you undergo the period now after it has matured, the uterine wall will take longer to shed thus causing you to undergo a long, heavy period.

CAUSES OF IRREGULAR MENSTRUATION

Causes of irregular menstruation are broad as they can range from personal hygiene,environment and body function. Getting rid of irregular periods can basically involve staying away from this causes of irregular menstruation.

Though it’s considered normal for a period to sometimes last a shorter period, around 1 – 2 days, but the sudden greater drop in period length can be caused by one of the following factors.

The causes of irregular menstruation are;

(A) Puberty

When you are still at puberty age, period lengths might fluctuate. Menstruation might take longer than you expected while some times it might take shorter than expected. This fluctuation is caused by fluctuation in hormones. Sometime you might produce more hormones progesterone and estrogen but in some months you might produce less. When hormonal production is high, the periods might last for a shorter time while low hormonal production might result in longer periods.

(b) Perimenopause

This is the period leading up to the final menstruation period before you enter menopause. This can cause either longer or shorter menstruation periods. All this is due to fluctuations in hormonal production. As you age, hormonal production can cease being regular thus its fluctuations can greatly affect your menstruation lengths. Longer menstruation can be caused by lower hormonal production thus causing the uterine wall to take long to shed. Shorter menstruation is caused by higher hormonal production which causes the uterine wall to shed off within a short time. Shorter periods can even last for 2 days while longer periods can go as high as 10 days or even more.

(c) Stress

Stress can greatly affect hormonal production either positively or negatively. If stress leads to high hormonal production, the periods will shorten drastically and you might be worried. Lower hormonal production due to stress can skyrocket your period length by even 5 or more days. Always check on stress and try to avoid it in order to witness your normal menstruation period.

(d) Hormonal birth control

Starting on hormonal birth control as a newbie can affect your period length. It can either increase the period length or reduce it by certain values. Hormonal birth control basically controls when you are going to undergo your periods. It can either slow down the production of hormones progesterone and estrogen or hasten. If the production of the two hormones is hastening and the greater amount is produced, the period length will probably be shorter than usual. Slower and low hormonal production leads to longer periods

(e) Excessive aerobic activities

Engaging yourself in vigorously activities regularly, especially on a daily basis and for a longer time can eventually affect your hormonal production. Vigorously activities cause the body to utilize more calories and if the utilization level exceeds your consumption rate, the body will be forced to utilize fat and protein reserves in the body. This will lead the body to a form of temporary starvation thus reducing hormonal production and eventually causing either missing periods or longer periods than usual.

(f) Use of other medications

Some medications such as antidepressants, ibuprofen, aspirin, and chemotherapy can affect your periods. The periods can either become shorter or longer depending on the effect of each medication on hormonal production.

(g) Premature ovarian failure (POF)

This is a disorder associated with a woman going into early menopause. This disorder is very rare as it is estimated to affect only 0.1% of women. This will cause a sudden irregularity in periods and then they will no longer be witnessed. Entering menopause means stopping the production of necessary hormones for pregnancy

(h)Weight gain can cause irregular menstruation

Your weight can greatly affect your periods. Having too much fat in the body or being overweight or obese can cause your periods to become irregular. This can also lead to missing periods. Always try to observe healthy eating lifestyles to avoid other worries like missing periods, heavy periods or even lighter periods than expected.

(i) Irregular diet

Very low fat and calorie consumption can greatly affect your periods thus causing them to become too irregular. This causes hormonal production to become irregular and untrackable. It can also lead to a person becoming thinner.

(j) Ectopic pregnancy

This happens when an egg implants itself in a different area other than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can cause bleeding and this can easily be mistaken for a period. The pain can also be greater around the abdomen area.

(k) Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can affect hormonal production. Some women do not undergo menstruation throughout their breastfeeding period especially those who breastfeed day and night, while others can undergo. The periods can become very irregular. You might skip some months and some months you see periods.

(l) Thyroid disease

Thyroid glands play a very big role in the human body. Thyroid diseases can either cause it to produce more or little thyroid hormone which has several roles in the human body. It plays a vital role in controlling the menstrual cycle. The disorders that affect it can either cause you to witness a shorter or longer period than usual. Absent or frequent menses is the most common thing witnessed in women who suffer from severe hyperthyroid disorders. This is possible because of an increase in thyroid hormone which indirectly leads to an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which can prevent ovulation thus skipping of periods.

(m)Cervical stenosis

This is the narrowing of the cervix and is mostly caused by surgery. It can cause the absence of periods (amenorrhea), painful periods (dysmenorrhea), heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) and abnormal bleeding. It can also cause infertility as the sperm cannot pass through the cervix to fertilize the egg.

(n)Pregnancy can cause irregular menstruation

25% of women always witness some blood drops during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is usually mistaken for periods. Pregnancy also leads to the absence of periods.

(o)Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts might bleed thus making the person mistake them for periods. These cysts can cause abdominal pain and irritation.

REMEDY/GETTING RID OF IRREGULAR MENSTRUATION PERIODS

There are several medically backed activities that can help in getting rid of irregular periods.

Below are the methods that can be used in getting rid of irregular periods;

  • Consume enough fats and carbs
  • Engage yourself in yoga
  • Maintain normal weight
  • Avoid consumption of high fiber foods
  • Reduce stress
  • Regular exercise
  • Try acupuncture
  • Consume cinnamon – a study has revealed that it can play a greater role in menstruation and can also be an effective treatment option for women with PCOS.
  • Consume pineapples and papaya

If this factors are not checked they be the causes of irregular menstruation

WHEN TO SEE THE DOCTOR

You are recommended to visit the doctor if you witness any of the following abnormalities;

  • You miss a period for three consecutive months yet you are not pregnant.
  • Your period suddenly becomes irregular
  • You witness periods more than three times in a month
  • You experience heavy and painful periods
  • Periods last more than a week
  • Have severe cramps
  • You are 15 years old and not see periods yet

Some of this abnormalities are caused by not practising good health habits during menstruation

WHAT TO USE DURING MENSTRUATION

There are several methods you can use to deal with menstrual blood in order to maintain hygiene. Use any of the following environmentally friendly products to maintain good health habits during menstruation;

  • Reusable, absorbable period panties.
  • Non-chlorine bleached all-cotton pads and tampons
  • Reusable, washable cloth pads
  • Sea sponge tampons
  • Reusable menstrual cups
  • The keeper
  • The keeper moon cup
  • Lunette cup
  • The Diva Cup
  • The lily cup
  • Disposable menstrual cup

HEALTH HABITS DURING MENSTRUATION

Exercising the right health habits during menstruation is very essential to avoid any complications from occurring.

The following are the best health habits during menstruation;

  • Do not continuously use tampons but alternate them with pads
  • Do not reuse tampons during menstruation
  • Discard the sanitary wear properly after use
  • Do not use soaps
  • Take birth before putting in a new sanitary wear
  • Change the sanitary wear regularly, approximately 4 – 6 hours
  • Refrain from sexual intercourse
  • Consume more iron and protein-rich foods
  • Keep warm when in menstruation
  • Have enough rest
  • Moderate exercise and keep it within your limit

Practice those health habits during menstruation in order to avoid the possibility of irregular periods or heavy periods from occurring.

READ MORE HERE:

  1. ENDOMETRIOSIS – CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND EFFECTS
  2. HYSTERECTOMY – REASONS, EFFECTS

CONCLUSION

Always practice health habits during menstruation in order to maintain regular menstruation periods.

Experiencing periods should not be a burden to you if;

  • You consume appropriate foods
  • Exercise within your limits
  • Use appropriate sanitary wear
  • Avoid stress and other environmentally negative factors
  • Visit a doctor for consultation whenever you see a change from the norm
  • Take appropriate drinks during periods
  • Get enough rest all through your periods
  • Maintain vaginal hygiene

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