Menstruation is the period or the beginning of a cycle when the blood and tissue that created a thick layer in the uterus wall leave the body through the uterus and vagina. Typically, menstruation occurs once a month. With the start of the first menstrual cycle, girls reach sexual maturity, and the reproductive system will be able to bear children. Although periods occur in all girls and women, many women are not fully aware of all aspects of menstruation and some of the events and changes that occur during periods.
The menstrual cycle is a process that occurs and goes through the body every month to prepare for pregnancy. Menstruation and bleeding from a woman’s uterus and vagina means she is not pregnant. Progesterone and estrogen hormones control and regulate women’s menstrual cycle or period. Menstrual periods usually last about 2 to 7 days. However, this time can be variable in women. Usually, women experience periods every 3 to 5 weeks. Long cycles are standard in the first few years after starting monthly habits, but cycles become shorter and more regular as you age.
There are two ovaries in every woman’s body. Each of these ovaries contains several ovules. The ovules in the ovary are tiny and cannot be seen by the naked eye. When the menstrual cycle occurs, the hormones in the woman’s body cause the ovules to mature in the ovaries.
When the ovule matures, it means that the body is ready to get pregnant, and the ovule needs to be fertilized by a sperm in order to get pregnant. Also, estrogen and progesterone hormones increase the thickness of the inner lining of the uterus and turn it into a spongy environment. This is a significant change in the uterus, and in fact, the uterus becomes a bed for accepting and keeping the ovule.
When the inner layer of the uterus becomes thick and spongy, it is the right time for the ovule to implant in it, and the pregnancy begins. Like everything else in our body, this thick coating is formed from blood and tissue. This layer is rich in nutrients, and if pregnancy occurs, it helps the growth and development of the fetus during the mother’s pregnancy.
Almost halfway through the menstrual cycle, body hormones stimulate one of the ovaries to release a mature ovule called ovulation. Most women do not experience any unusual symptoms during ovulation, and this process may even be completely asymptomatic in their bodies. However, another group of women experiences symptoms such as spotting, pain in the lower abdomen, and bloating during ovulation.
When the ovule is released from the ovary, it travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. If fertilization takes place at this time and the ovule merges with a sperm, pregnancy occurs. If the released ovule does not meet any sperm when it reaches the uterus, pregnancy does not occur. In this case, the body does not need this thick covering. Therefore, this coating is damaged and expelled from the body through the vagina as a liquid of blood and tissue. We call these substances removed from the vagina, period blood, or menstruation.
Most women experience various symptoms in the last few days of menstruation or the first few days of menstruation when the bleeding flow is more intense. You may experience many different symptoms before and after your period. These symptoms are called PMS or premenstrual syndrome. It is good to know that there are more than 100 symptoms mentioned for the period, so it is likely that your symptoms are different from other women.
Menstruation-related symptoms and discomforts should not be to the extent that they disrupt your everyday life, and if they are, you should take measures to treat and control them. In some women, period symptoms are so severe that it becomes difficult to perform regular life tasks. In the following, we will mention some of the natural physical symptoms that occur during menstruation:
The first signs that your period is coming are the growth of armpit and pubic hair. Usually, the menstrual cycle starts about two years after the development of breasts and about a year after the white discharge from the vagina. On average, girls experience their first period around 12, although this age varies from person to person and may vary from 10 to 16 years. If your period has yet to start by 16, see a doctor. The doctor prescribes a blood test to check the level of your hormones and prescribes the necessary medicines according to the test results.
Any condition that causes a change in the ordinary course of the period is called a menstrual disorder. Menstrual disorders usually occur for various reasons, such as stress, birth control pills, uterine polyps or fibroids, endometriosis, etc. Some of the menstrual disorders are:
First, the doctor will ask you about your medical history and menstrual cycle, and then a clinical examination will be performed. For a definitive diagnosis, he may prescribe blood tests to measure hormones (thyroid hormones, prolactin, LH, and FSH) and check blood coagulation disorders. Other examinations include ultrasound to examine the reproductive system and pelvic organs, hysteroscopy to observe the uterus, etc.
The treatment of menstrual problems depends on their underlying cause, and some of these disorders, such as depression and periods, can have psychological roots. After clinical examination and tests, one of the following methods is prescribed for treatment:
Many women are worried about the delay in menstruation or their periods being delayed. Most of them think that the delay in their period cycle is caused by pregnancy, While the delay in their period includes various causes besides pregnancy.
Most people who have not reached menopause; usually have periods every 28 days. However, a healthy menstrual cycle ranges from 21 to 40 days. The delayed period is not always a sign of pregnancy. One of the most common causes can be hormonal imbalance.
Chronic stress and anxiety can affect hormone function and even the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for regulating menstruation. Stress causes a sudden increase or decrease in weight, which also causes disturbances in the menstrual cycle. Try relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes; they can help reduce chronic stress and anxiety.
Extreme weight changes can disrupt the timing of the menstrual cycle. A sharp increase or decrease in body fat leads to hormonal imbalance, which causes a person’s period to be delayed or stopped.
Also, severe calorie reduction affects the part of the brain associated with the endocrine glands. Endocrine glands produce reproductive hormones. With a sharp decrease in calories, the communication between the brain and this system will be disrupted, and as a result, the period will be delayed.
Complex and intense exercise and physical activity cause disruption and delay in menstruation. This is because those who exercise for several hours a day, intentionally or unintentionally, burn more calories than they take in.
The body needs enough energy and calories to keep all its systems active. Exercising more intensely and cutting calories can affect your period. Usually, the period cycle returns to normal as soon as the training intensity is reduced or the calorie intake is increased.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a set of symptoms caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. Many people with this syndrome do not ovulate regularly. This syndrome causes a period cycle with the following conditions:
Other symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome can include:
You may think that taking birth control pills will help you have regular periods, but taking some pills like Quartette, Seasonique, or Seasonale can cause a delay between periods.
When you stop taking birth control pills, your body returns to its original hormone levels. It may take several months for your menstrual cycle to return to normal.
Also, other types of contraceptive methods that use hormonal methods can cause delays and irregular periods.
If hormonal birth control methods such as; If you are using an intrauterine device (IUD), implant, or injection, your menstrual cycle may stop.
Menopause usually begins in the mid to late 40s. Before the onset of post-menstruation (menopause), the menstrual cycle is disturbed. For example, you do not get your period for one month; you get your period for the next three months or vice versa. The amount of weight and the menstrual cycle are also different.
Premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure. When the ovaries are not functioning correctly, they stop producing many hormones, including estrogen. As estrogen levels drop, you will experience menopause symptoms. Among the symptoms of early menopause and ovarian failure that cause a delay in the period, the following can be mentioned:
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that produces hormones to regulate many activities in the body, including the menstrual cycle. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect the menstrual cycle. The possibility of delayed menstruation is more in hyperthyroidism.
Some diseases, such as celiac disease and diabetes, cause disturbances in the menstrual cycle. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive system. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune system responds by attacking the lining of the small intestine. When the small intestine is damaged, it impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Malnutrition causes disruption and delayed menstruation.
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may also, in rare cases, not have periods. However, this only happens when the blood sugar level is not controlled.
See a doctor when you experience the following symptoms:
As people are different, the menstrual cycle of different people is also different. If you have recently noticed that your cycle has been irregular or have not had a period and know you are not pregnant, see your doctor immediately.
The emergency pill is one of the contraceptive tools, and it is obtained from the combination of two hormones that prevent the ovulation process; in this case, even if the sperm enters the uterus, it will not have a chance to fertilize the ovule, and an embryo will not be born. Emergency loans are produced in two types. The first group contains progesterone and estrogen; the second is obtained only from progesterone.
The last menstrual cycle in women is symmetrical with the onset of menopause. This period is diagnosed after 12 months of non-menstruation. Menopause may occur at age 40 or 50, but the average age is 51. The cessation of periods and menopause is a natural biological process. Clinical symptoms such as hot flashes and emotional symptoms of menopause may occur in some women and cause temporary disturbances in sleep or mood.
Note that during your period, if you do not observe your hygiene, you may face serious problems. So keep the following in mind:
Vaginal washing during the period
It is better to wash your genital area once a day during your period to prevent the accumulation of germs and unpleasant odors during bleeding.
A bath improves your mood and helps you deal with menstrual symptoms. Warm water can help stimulate blood flow and relieve muscle cramps. Enjoy the bath without worry!
It would help if you changed your sanitary pad or tampon during menstruation every 4 to 8 hours.
Having a regular menstrual cycle is an indication of your body’s health. So it has a lot of information about your health. By having a regular cycle, you can plan your life, exercise, work, and sex life.
Regular periods indicate that your hormones are at normal levels and your bones, thyroid gland, and metabolic system are functioning correctly. The period makes you age later and keeps your skin and body fresh. According to research conducted in America, researchers think that one of the reasons why women live longer than men is that they lose some iron each month through menstrual bleeding because too much iron in the body can cause disease by producing free radicals.
Moreover, abdominal pain is one of the most common annoying period problems, which may occur before or at the same time as it is experienced by many women routinely. This pain is felt in the lower abdomen and back, and its intensity varies from mild to severe.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.