Menstrual Cycle

In a girl’s life, puberty is a stage when you develop from a child to an adult. Girls start witnessing changes in breasts. Start of menstrual cycle is also a sign of puberty in girls. Every girl goes through it; however it’s quite a tough time. It’s really important that we must clarify them about the meaning and other details of Menstrual Cycle.

Dr Disha Sridhar

I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.

So, without any further, let’s get started:

What is a Menstrual Cycle?


What is an average menstrual cycle?

A menstrual cycle can range from 21 days to 35 days. But, the average cycle is 28 days long. The menstrual cycle is said to begin on the first day of a period. The steps in the menstrual cycle are triggered by the sudden rise and fall of hormones. The specific events that occur during the menstrual cycle can be described as follows:

  1. The menses phase: This phase lasts from one day to five days. During this time, the lining of the uterus is mostly shed out through vagina if the pregnancy hasn’t occurred. Most women bleed around three to five days. But a period lasting for only two days or seven days is also known as normal.
  2. The follicular phase: Right after menses phase, the follicular phase arises. This phase takes place from six days to fourteen days. During this period, the estrogen hormone arises that causes the lining of uterus to grow and get thicken. Additionally, another hormone -follicle stimulating hormone causes ovaries to grow. During 10 to 14 days, one of the developing follicles forms a fully mature egg (ovum).
  3. Ovulation phase: This phase occurs at 14th day in a 28th day menstrual cycle. The luteinizing hormone causes the ovary to release its egg. This event is also known as ovulation. 
  4. Luteal phase: It is the last stage in a menstrual cycle that lasts from about 15th day to the 28th day. Once, the egg is released from the ovary, it begins to travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. During this phase, the level of the progesterone hormone rises to prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. If the egg becomes fertilized by a sperm, then the woman becomes pregnant. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, then estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the thickened lining of the uterus sheds out during the menstrual period.

When does menstrual cycle begin?

The menstrual cycle begins at the average age of 12. However, the research says that girls can start menstruating as early as 8 years or as late as 16 years of age. At menopause, a woman stops producing eggs.  It is defined as one year without periods and after this a woman can no longer become pregnant. 

What is menstruation? 

Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus, also known as womb. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue that flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina.

What are the symptoms that indicate your menstruation is about to start?

Here are the most common signs that indicate that your menstrual cycle is about to start. Check them out:

  • Tender breasts: During the first half of the menstrual cycle, estrogen level starts increasing that stimulates the growth of the milk ducts in your breasts. These changes can cause your breasts to be achy or undergo swollen feeling right before your period. 

  • Mood Swings: Almost 80% of females experience mood swings, irritability, depression and anxiety when their periods are about to start. Fluctuating progesterone and estrogen levels should be blamed. During this phase, a lot of females feel like crying for no reason and their emotional hypersensitivity can also be noticed.

  • Bloating: If your tummy feels heavy or you can’t get your jeans to zip up before your periods, then it means your body is undergoing bloating. Your body starts retaining more water and salt than usual. 

  • Abdominal cramps: Abdominal cramps can arise as a premenstrual syndrome. The cramps may range in severity from dull, minor aches to extreme pain that stops you from participating in your daily activities.

  • Bowel issues: As bowels are sensitive to hormonal changes, hence you may experience alterations in your bathroom habits before and during your periods. This causes uterine contractions in the bowels. Alongwith frequent bowel movements, you may also experience nausea, diarrhea, constipation and gassiness.
  • Headache: Since hormones are responsible for generating the pain, therefore the fluctuating hormonal levels may cause headaches and migraines. Migraines may occur before, during or immediately following menstruation.
  • Fatigue: As your periods start approaching, your body shifts gears. There is a drastic change in hormonal levels and fatigue is often the result. 
  • Acne: Most of the women notice an increase in acne just before their period starts. This happens because if no pregnancy takes place, the androgen level declines that stimulates production of sebum. When too much sebum is produced, acne breakouts appear on the chin and jawline.

What are the symptoms that indicate your menstrual cycle is disturbed?

  • Periods occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days

  • Menstrual flow is much heavier or lighter than usual

  • Missing three or more periods in a row

  • Periods last longer than seven days

  • Periods are accompanied by blackout, vomiting, cramping, nausea and pain

  • Bleeding or spotting occurs between periods, menopause or post menstruation

  • Fainting or dizziness

What causes disturbance in menstrual cycle?

There are various causes of disturbance in menstrual cycle ranging from stress to other underlying medical conditions. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Stress and lifestyle factors: Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight, work pressure, dieting or changes in exercise routines and travel leave a major impact on the menstrual cycle of the women.

  • Usage of birth control pills: Most of the birth pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin. This helps prevent pregnancy by not letting the ovaries from release eggs. Consumption or refraining birth control pills can affect menstruation cycle. 

  • Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are the non - cancerous tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus. They cause heavy bleeding and pain during periods, misbalancing the menstrual cycle. If the fibroids are large, then they might put pressure on the bladder or rectum, causing discomfort.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome:  In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries make large amounts of androgens that are male hormones. The hormonal changes prevent eggs from maturing, and hence ovulation may not take place consistently. This ultimately disturbs the pattern of menstrual cycle.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: When the bacteria enter the vagina via sexual contact, gynaecologic procedures or through miscarriage, abortion, they spread to the uterus and upper genital tract. The origination of PID disease disturbs the menstrual cycle.

  •  Premature ovarian insufficiency: This condition occurs in those women whose ovaries do not function properly. The menstrual cycle gets stopped, just like menopause. This situation mostly occurs in patients who are being treated for cancer with chemotherapy and radiation, or there is a family history of premature ovarian insufficiency.

How can abnormal menstrual cycle be overcome?

    Here are some of the recommendations for self-care:

  • Eat nutritious foods and limit your calorie intake.

  • Exercise regularly

  • Rest should be an important part of your lifestyle.

  • Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques.

  • If you are an athlete, then you should cut back intense exercise routines. 

  • Use birth control pills or other contraceptive medication as instructed by the doctor.


FAQ:

Q1. Which is an ideal phase of menstrual cycle to get pregnant?

Ans. Ovulation phase is the ideal phase of menstrual cycle to get pregnant. 

Q2. What all foods should one avoid during menstruation?

Ans. One must avoid too much intake of coffee, salt, alcohol, red meat and other spicy foods.

Q3. What is the best remedy to reduce pain during menses?

Ans. You can take a help of hot water bottle to reduce period pain.

Q3. Is it possible to miss a period for a month?

Ans. Yes, one can miss a period for a month due to nutritional changes, travel or stress.

Q4. How to keep track of menstrual cycle?

Ans.  Count the days from the first day of bleeding in one period to the first day of bleeding in the next period, the total number of days in between denotes the menstrual cycle.

Having regular menstrual cycle is a sign that important parts of your body is working properly. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones that keep women happy and healthy. So, if you are suffering from misbalanced menstrual cycle, book your appointment with TruHealing. Our Period Balance is the 30-day program designed to help you heal your period problems for good. Get in touch with us and get your menstrual cycle balanced. Because the greatest wealth is health! Don’t ignore it, nurture it.