What is Normal and What’s Not During Your Menstruation?
Every month, a woman undergoes a menstrual cycle – a natural change that occurs in the female reproductive organ and which makes pregnancy possible. The menstrual cycle can say a lot about your health, so it’s important to check and keep a track of it.
Tracking your menstrual cycle may help you understand what’s normal and what’s not. It can also help you understand when you are ovulating, and any important changes happening like a missed period or unpredictable menstrual bleeding.
What’s a Normal Menstrual Cycle?
The average length of the menstrual cycle is around 28 days when counting from the first day of one cycle to the first day of the next cycle.
The menstrual flow may last around 2-7 days which might occur every 21-35 days.
The length of menstrual cycles which is found to be longer for the first few years tends to shorten and become more regular as you age.
Most of the time, your menstrual cycle might be regular, but you may also observe some irregularities in your menstrual cycle like painful or pain-free, long or short cycles, and light or heavy periods, all of which can still be considered normal.
When you get close to menopause, your cycle might become irregular again.
Note that the use of contraceptives such as extended-cycle birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), can alter your menstrual cycle. In such cases, talk to your health care provider.
How to Keep a Track On Menstrual Cycle?
Keep track of your menstrual cycle by marking them on a calendar. You can begin by tracking your start date every month for several months in a row to identify the regularity of your periods.
What do Menstrual Cycle Irregularities Mean and What Causes Them?
Menstrual cycle irregularities can have many different causes, which include-
You may have become pregnant.
A breastfeeding woman may experience a delay in the return of menstruation after pregnancy.
Stress, dieting, weight loss and eating disorders, and extreme physical activity may also lead to irregular menstrual cycles.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder in women which may cause infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. It results due to excessive androgen secretion which causes enlarged ovaries containing small collections of fluid called follicles.
Premature ovarian failure is a condition where a woman loses the normal function of ovaries before she reaches 40. They may experience irregular or occasional periods for years.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs which can cause irregular menstrual bleeding.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tissue growths of the uterus. They can cause heavy menstrual periods and prolonged menstrual periods.
How can you Prevent Menstrual Irregularities?
Use of birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles in some women.
Treating certain underlying conditions like eating disorder, uterine fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory infection can help prevent irregularities in the menstrual cycle.
Consult your gynaecologist in case you don’t experience your periods for more than 90 days, and you are not pregnant.
In case you are bleeding doesn’t stop even after 7 days or if it is more heavy than usual, speak to your doctor.