Important Information About Periods

Important Information About PeriodsImportant Information About Periods


Why do women menstruate?  

Menstruation is a very complicated process involving many different hormones, the womans sex organs and the brain.

A womans  internal sex organs consist of two ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, the uterus (womb) and the vagina. The ovaries contain the eggs with which the woman is born and, during each period, a single egg will usually ripen and mature due to the action of hormones circulating in the bloodstream.

When the egg is mature it bursts from the ovary and drifts through the Fallopian tube down into the uterus. The lining of the uterus  the endometrium has been thickened by the action of hormones and made ready to receive the fertilised egg.If the egg is fertilized and the woman becomes pregnant, it will fasten itself onto the endometrium. If the egg is not fertilized, however, resultant hormonal changes cause the endometrium to slip away and menstruation begins.Menstrual discharge is composed of the endometrium itself, together with a little fresh blood caused by the breaking of very fine blood vessels within the endometrium as it detaches itself from the inside of the uterus.The amount of blood lost due to the normal monthly period is usually less than 80ml.

What are irregular periods?

If a woman/girl has irregular periods there may be variations in the interval length between periods. The amount of blood lost, as well as the duration of bleeding may also vary. Irregular periods can have several different causes, and treatment will depend on the cause. Some doctors arrange for relaxation classes, counseling, or changing the contraceptive pill. Although the majority of doctors say that long-term usage of the contraceptive pill to suppress menstruation is safe, many women do not know this, a study found.

The majority of irregular periods are benign (harmless). In many cases, missed periods, periods that occur too frequently, spotting, or bouts of heavy clotting and bleeding are caused by a hormonal imbalance  this can be easily treated by a doctor. Shifts in period regularity are more common in the perimenopause (the interval in which a womans body begins its transition into menopause). 

Most women have missed a period at some time. This could be for no apparent reason, or in anticipation of a pregnancy, or perhaps because of anxiety or tension. 

When does menstruation begin?

These days, girls begin to menstruate when they are about 10 to 14 years-old. The average age is approximately 12. Women will continue to menstruate until the age of 45 to 55, when menopause begins. A woman will have approximately 500 periods in her lifetime.

Can you feel ovulation?

Ovulation usually takes place roughly 14 days after the first day of the start of a period; however, the exact timing can vary greatly from woman to woman. Some women know when they are ovulating because they can feel a slight pain in their lower abdomen. Other women may bleed slightly in the middle of their cycle.

Vaginal discharge also changes at ovulation. It increases in amount and becomes more watery due to hormonal changes. This is one of the ways that women who wish to practice natural family planning (NFP) using the mucus test can find out whether it is safe to have sex or not.

Women who do not experience such symptoms during ovulation can find out when they are ovulating by taking their temperature. This will rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius when ovulation occurs. To measure temperature effectively, it must be taken at the same time every morning before getting out of bed.

Temperature readings taken from different parts of the body such as the mouth, under the arm, in the ear or in the rectum will all give a slightly different measurement. For this reason, it is important to choose one location and stick to it. When checking for temperature, rises can occur for a variety of reasons and, therefore, should not be used as the only method of detecting ovulation.

What are the symptoms of painful periods?

The degree of discomfort experienced during menstruation varies from woman to woman. Some are never bothered by their periods, while others can be badly affected by unpleasant symptoms. These may include:

A.  pains in the abdomen

        B.  pain in the vagina

          C.  feeling nauseous and generally unwell

          D.   diarrhoea

          E.  sweating

          F.  fatigue.

What can women do to relieve their symptoms?

There are several things that will help relieve discomfort:

  A.  while menstruating, refrain from drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, cola or cocoa.

B.  avoid stress. Relaxation and massage can work wonders.

 C.   exercise and staying fit can help prevent painful periods.

  D.   keep your abdomen warm.

E.  finally, use pain-relieving medicines if necessary.

What causes painful periods?

There is no single proven theory, but there are several possible reasons:

     A.   contractions of the uterus similar to those felt in childbirth due to the hormone prostaglandin.

B.  the pain can be caused by the cervix dilating when the blood and the tissue are passed out of the womb.

C. the pain can be due to earlier infections or inflammations of the uterus, or benign tumours in the uterus.

D.  in some cases, painful periods are hereditary. If a woman has painful periods, her daughters may later be affected in the same way.

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