Monthly shedding of the uterus lining is called menstruation. Pattern of a normal menstrual cycle is different for different women. On an average a woman has her periods every 28 days, but if it takes longer or shorter than this, from 21 to 40 days, it is considered to be normal. So, track your menstrual cycle and find out what is normal for you. Having your first period is called Menarche. A girl can have menarche anywhere after the age of 10, average is 12 years.
What does your body go through during the menstrual cycle?
Rise and fall of hormone estrogen and progesterone plays a major role in menstruation. The specified events are as follows:
- Menstrual phase: This phase lasts for 3 to 5 days. During this time the lining of the uterus is shed out through vagina.
- Follicular phase: This phase lasts from day 6 to 14. In this phase the estrogen level rises and is responsible for making the uterus lining to grow and thicken. Moreover, FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone) is responsible for growth of follicles in the ovary.
- Ovulation: It occurs at about day 14, during this phase Luteinizing Hormone (LH) increases resulting in release of an egg from ovary.
- Luteal Phase: The time from day 15 to 28 is called Luteal phase. During this phase after releasing from the ovary, the egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. During this phase the progesterone hormone rises to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. A woman can become pregnant if the egg gets fertilized by a sperm and attached to the inner lining of the uterus. But if pregnancy doesn’t happen there is a fall in the level of estrogen and progesterone and the uterine lining is shed during the menstrual period.
It’s Important to have a track of menstrual cycle
It’s good to keep a record of what is normal for you and to identify the regularity of your periods. In order to keep a track, have a note of the following things regularly every month:
- Start date: It’s important to note the start date of periods every month.
- End date: How long does it last, whether for longer or shorter duration?
- Flow: Notice if it is lighter or heavier or are there any blood clots.
- Pain: Keep a record if there is any cramping pain present.
- Any other changes: Have a note of any mood or behavioral changes or any other changes in body should be jotted down carefully.
MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITIES IN YOUNG GIRLS
During the first few years of menarche it’s normal to have heavy, irregular and painful periods. It’s a rare condition to have any underlying disease and the symptoms improve as the age increases. The immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovary axis is responsible for this irregularity during the first few years of menarche.
Although the initial years of the menstrual cycle are said to be irregular, it still needs not to be ignored because heavy and prolonged periods for weeks can lead to anemia or rarely cardiovascular collapse. Due to raised levels of a hormone called prostaglandins, periods become painful that need to be managed.
Do not ignore if the following symptoms persists:
- Flow or spots between the periods
- Heavy flow
- Flow that lasts longer than usual
CAUSES OR THE IRREGULAR PERIODS
As discussed earlier it could be normal to have little irregularity in initial years, but if it persists then serious consideration is neededas it could be due to underlying disease. Following are the common causes:
- Eating disorder: The girls having eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are more likely to have irregular periods. It is because with these disorders the body is not able to produce enough hormone that controls the menstrual cycle.
- Diabetes: Uncontrolled blood sugar level affects the normal menstrual cycle.
- Medications: There are few medications that are said to affect the normal menstrual cycle like antipsychotics or anti-epileptics.
- Hyperprolactinemia: When there is increased prolactin, known as protein hormone, the girl may have irregular periods.
- Polycystic ovaries: Girls having polycystic ovarian syndrome experience irregular periods.
- Stress: It has manifold effects on the body but regarding menstruation a girl may have delayed or missed periods.
SYMPTOMS TO BE CONSIDERED CAREFULLY
- Delayed periods for over 90 days
- Sudden irregular periods
- Prolonged periods for over a week or 21 days
- Having a heavy periods
- Having periods in between the menstrual cycle
- Most painful periods.
COMPLICATIONS IF YOU IGNORE IRREGULAR PERIODS
Although a fair amount of girls pass through the initial phase of menstrual irregularities, there are few in which irregularity persists and if ignored can lead to some complications known as PMS (premenstrual syndrome).Symptoms of PMS include: headache, tender breasts, pelvic pain, premenstrual tension, bloating, mood swings, sleep disorder, clumsiness, behavioral changes, and change in sexual desire.
SOME HOME REMEDIES AT YOUR RESCUE
Finding an underlying cause for irregular periods is a must but here are few home remedies that are proved to be very beneficial which are as follows:
- Practice Yoga: Yoga has proved to be very effective in making the menstrual periods regular. It reduces menstrual pain, fights with depression and anxiety and improves quality of life.
- Add ginger in diet: Ginger is known to treat irregular diet. It is advised to take 750 mg of ginger powder during the menstruation period to have pain free time.
- Cinnamon: consumption of cinnamon is known to be effective in managing PCOS, reducing menstrual bleeding and pain.
- Vitamins: normal level of vitamin D and vitamin B has a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle.
- Maintain a healthy weight: In order to be fit one has to exercise regularly.
HOW AYURVEDA CAN HELP
Ayurved holds a view that Vata dosha governs the menstrual cycle. Whenever an irregularity in menstrual cycle occurs there is a hindrance to the free flow of vata. In order to bring back the vata to flow freely the Ayurvedic practitioners suggest some lifestyle and dietary changes along with pure herbal remedies.
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