The menstrual cycle is a set of changes that a woman goes through every month. During each month, one of the ovaries releases an ovum. This process is known as ovulation and apart from this, some hormonal changes take place. This in order to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy. Also, if ovulation occurs, but the ovum is not fertilized, the tissue that lines the uterus is expelled through the vagina.
What is a normal menstrual cycle like?
The menstrual cycle is counted from the start of one period to the first day of the next. This will always vary in all women. Menstrual flow can last from 2 to 7 days and can occur every 21 to 35 days. An important fact is that in the first years, it is common to have long cycles. However, as you age, these begin to regulate and shorten. Women can have regular cycles of the same length each month. However, it is also possible that the period may be long, painful, or heavy.
On the other hand, the use of contraceptives such as pills or intrauterine devices alters the menstrual cycle. For this reason, you should take this issue into account and speak with a doctor to advise you on which is the best option.
Menopause is another very important topic because it could cause your cycle to become irregular. Also, as one age, the risk of uterine cancer increases. For this reason, it is important to keep your doctor informed of any irregular bleeding.
How to keep track of the menstrual cycle?
It is best to keep track of your cycle on a calendar. The first thing you should start doing is keeping track of your period start date each month. This will help you identify any irregularities. However, if you are concerned about your periods, you can consider the following during each month:
- Pain: Describe any pain associated with your period and identify if it feels worse than normal.
- Abnormal bleeding: Do you bleed between periods?
- Flow: Some questions regarding your flow that you can ask are: Have you passed a blood clot? Or How often do you change your health protection?
- End date: Notice if your period starts to last longer than normal.
- Other changes: Did something new happen during your cycle? Have you had a drastic change in your mood?
Things that generally alter your menstrual cycle
In case you did not know, the menstrual cycle is regulated by many factors, not only hormonal. If a small imbalance occurs in the body, it is possible that several disturbances in the cycle are generated. These can be delays, excessive pain, and heavy flow. For this reason, you have to take into account all the reasons that can alter your cycle. This in order to recognize what may be the main cause if you run into problems.
A regular menstrual cycle indicates that we are in good health because our bodies and our hormones are in balance. Therefore, any misalignment can cause minor or severe damage.
Hormonal problems are the main cause of irregular menstrual cycles. This problem can be focused on several hormones or on specific sites that control their secretion. To recognize what the fault is, you have to perform tests. This in order to know if there are any benign tumors in places such as the pituitary. Also, thyroid problems are also the cause of cycle disturbances.
On the other hand, polycystic ovary syndrome generates hormonal problems. These include cysts on the ovaries, being overweight, loss of periods, hirsutism, and hair loss.
Another cause of the loss of the menstrual cycle is doing excessive physical activities. For menstruation to be maintained, you must have a specific level of fat in the body. For this reason, elite athletes with low body fat often have this problem because they perform very demanding sports. However, the most recommended in these cases is a diet with healthy fats for adequate weight gain.
An inappropriate weight can cause irregular cycles, it can even cause amenorrhea. For the body to have normal hormone levels and for the body to function properly, have to maintain a quality diet. Normally, imbalances in the diet produce irregularities in the body and these affect the hormones. On the other hand, overweight people can have hormones affected in the same way.
Stress and anxiety
Nowadays people have a very busy life. This is due to time-consuming school jobs and activities. Because of these, we are constantly in stressful situations on a day-to-day basis. Stress and anxiety lead to problems in our body, they weaken us and cause us to present problems and diseases. In addition, it also produces hormonal problems that go hand in hand with irregularities in the menstrual cycle.
Also, there is a psychological factor that helps maintain a balanced period. For this reason, this cause must be taken into account as well. If you are stressed or have episodes of anxiety, it is likely that you will begin to present these types of problems.
What to do to prevent irregularities in the menstrual cycle?
In some cases, women use birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycles. However, some irregularities cannot be prevented. We recommend you see a medical professional if:
- Did you get a fever or after using tampons you feel bad?
- You have severe pain during your menstrual period
- You have bleeding between menstrual periods
- Your periods last 21 days or, conversely, they last more than 35 days.
- You have started to bleed more than usual and even use more than one pad or tampon every hour.
- Your bleeding lasts more than 7 days
- You constantly have changes in your periods, that is, they are regular and suddenly they become irregular again
- At some point your period stopped for more than 90 days and you were not pregnant.
What is premenstrual syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome are those emotional and physical symptoms that a woman has before or during her period. Among these symptoms the most common are swelling, acne, anxiety, sadness or moodiness. However, these symptoms disappear a couple of days after the period starts.