The menstrual cycle is a monthly cycle which brings many changes inside a woman's body. Every month one of the ovaries releases an egg inside a woman's body, which is called ovulation. When the egg is not fertilised, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. A woman’s uterus sheds off tissue, fluid and blood which are no longer needed.
The word menstruation is derived from menses, which is a Latin word for "month" as the cycle repeats every month. A menstrual cycle is a duration between the first day of one's period and the first day of the next period, which usually is a month long. On an average, the cycle lasts for 28 days but can vary between 21 and 35 days.
The monthly period usually lasts for 4-7 days, which may differ from woman to woman. Menstruation usually begins between the age of 12 and 13. The first menstrual period is called menarche. Menstruation stops occurring after menopause which usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age.
Premenstrual syndrome happens before the period actually starts. Most of the girls experience PMS. It is a kind of sign which can indicate a girl that her period is about to come. PMS can show various signs and symptoms which a woman may experience.
The period colour can be bright red or even dark red. It can be in different colours. Most of the colours are considered healthy. The colour of your period may vary from bright red to blackish.
A bright red colour indicates that the blood has been recently produced in the uterus. It is usually an ideal choice when accomplished with normal flow volume and can be termed as “fertile periods”.
A dark red colour represents that blood was produced long back in the uterus and took a long time to break due to lack of certain hormone influx. Sometimes, the blood is collected in the vaginal canal after the lining is broken down and is excreted later through urine. If this happens frequently in the morning, then it is normal. However, if the situation remains the same throughout the day, then this is an indication of hormonal imbalance.
Brown or Black
Brown or black colour is a signal for odd and old blood. If this happens at the end of the cycle and the flow is not so heavy, then it is considered normal. This happens when the blood gets stuck in the uterine cavity for a very long time.
Pink menstrual blood clearly indicates impaired red blood cells density or insufficient iron content. This may happen due to anaemia, imbalanced diet, or lack of essential nutrients in the body. Furthermore, improper RBC’s density can lead to poor oxygen delivery to various organs including the reproductive system.
Bluish menstrual colour illustrates stagnant or frozen blood due to too low body temperature. It is accompanied by pain and clotting with the requirement of temperature regulation of the body.
Orange menstrual colour is actually a blend of bright red menstrual blood and cervical fluids. An appearance of orange colour with red streaks is a symbol of certain infections and needs a proper diagnosis.
If there is spotting or irregularity of flow, then this might be an alarming situation - one that involves the lack of optimal hormones, which needs immediate attention. If you experience irregular cycle then you need to consult a gynaecologist immediately.
Menstrual cramps can be very painful at times. Instead of popping a painkiller you can take various steps to reduce the pain.
Teas can be very effective during menstrual cramps. You can choose your favourite tea and drink it hot. You can drink green tea, ginger tea, turmeric tea or raspberry leaf tea.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine in the form of coffee works as a vasoconstrictor and narrows the blood vessels. In non-caffeine consumers, the vessels do not contract as much as they do in coffee drinkers. If you cannot resist having coffee for the entire month, try to avoid it at least a week before your periods to reduce pain during periods.
A hot water bottle or a heating pad reduces the muscle cramps. Placing it on your abdomen during periods can cut down the pain to a very large extent.
Involve Minor Exercises
Light exercises are beneficial during the menstrual cycle. You can do some easy exercises or simple yoga which will also reduce the pain. You can also meditate during your periods. If you are indulged in heavy cardio exercises, then it is okay to skip it for a few days and do some slow fat burning exercising.
There are certain things that every woman should be careful about during her monthly cycle. Some of the mistakes that women should avoid are:
Taking painkillers for menstrual cramps
Painkillers may provide relief from menstrual pain and cramps quickly but they can cause more problems than they fix. According to the experts, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can increase your risk of getting a sudden heart attack or stroke without a warning. Besides, you may also end up getting ulcers, holes and breeding in the stomach and intestine, kidney damage due to frequent use of such pain medicines. You can try natural remedies to reduce the pain and cramping.
Not changing sanitary pad regularly
If you don't change your tampon or pad as often as you should, you are allowing bacteria to grow. Both tampons and pads create the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish. Thus, it is imperative that you change your tampon or pad every 4 to 8 hours.
Using scented products
Most of the sanitary napkins and tampons are scented. But such products can irritate your body, causing bacteria or yeast infections.
Not getting enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can increase stress. Getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours is especially important during menstruation.
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