All You Need To Know
Menses or Menstruation is something that no one wants to talk about. Even females feel a little awkward when they talk about it. I don’t understand why. This is a natural process and it’s a part of every women’s life. It should be discussed so that every woman has some knowledge about it.
I can say that the menstrual cycle is one of the toughest phases of every woman’s life every month. The abdominal pain, back pain, discomfort, etc can cause you stress and no interest in doing any other activity. You just want to lie down on your bed and relax. It is necessary to take a rest at this time. There is a rise and fall of the hormones which can cause mood swings and frustration during periods.
It’s important to take care of the woman during her periods. Some women become so weak and helpless that they cannot even get up from their beds. Some may even cry with pain abdominal pain. Family and partners support is a must at this time. Some women feel so ashamed that they don’t even tell or talk about their periods with others.
But today, I am happy that many people are coming forward to talk about this so that every woman gets proper knowledge which can help them to prevent certain infections due to periods.
What is a Menstrual cycle or Menstruation?
Menstruation is the normal flow of blood and tissue outside the women’s body through the vagina every month. It can last from 3 to 8 days. The menstrual flow can be light or heavy in every woman. You need to change your sanitary pad every 3 to 4 hours depending on your menstrual flow. Menstruation happens every 28-days. The menstrual cycle starts on the first day of the last period and ends on the first day of your next period. That is why it’s called a 28-day menstrual cycle. In some women, this cycle can be short or long. Some have a 21-day cycle and others can have a 35 days cycle.
Menstruation can occur in females from the age of 11 to 15 and end at the age of 48 to 51 which is also called menopause. Most of the girls get their first periods when they turn 11 or 12 years old. If you are getting your first periods at 14 or 15 years of age, it is also completely normal. Every woman’s body is different so it can vary. You have to consult your doctor if you don’t get your first periods after completing 15 years of age.
How does it occur?
There are two ovaries in every woman which contain a bunch of eggs. The egg is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Every month or every 10th day of the menstrual cycle, the hormones estrogen and progesterone mature the eggs in the ovaries and thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare for a pregnancy. The lining is made up of blood and tissues which has many nutrients in them to help the growth of the fetus after conceiving. If pregnancy did not occur, then the body doesn’t need the lining anymore so it breaks down and comes out of the vagina in the form of menstrual flow.
The matured egg comes out of the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. The egg is released in the middle of the 28-day menstrual cycle. It takes at least 5 to 6 days for the egg to travel through the fallopian tube. So a woman is more likely to get pregnant on the 13th, 14th, 15th, or 16th day of the menstrual cycle. No one can say when will the egg release from the ovary exactly. This is also called the fertile period as there are more chances to become pregnant at this time. If conception occurs at this time, and if the sperms enter the uterus through the vagina, they fuse and fertilize the egg which is outside the ovary. Remember that the sperm has a life span of 6 days in the uterus but an egg can only live for 12 to 24 hours.
After fertilization occurs the egg travels to the thick lining of the uterus and implants there from where the birth of the baby occurs. The egg becomes a cluster of cells and slowly forms into a fetus which takes 9 months to form into a complete baby. The egg reaches the uterus on the 20th day of the menstrual cycle. If the fertilization does not occur or if the sperms don’t enter the uterus or fuse with the egg, then the egg travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus and comes out of the vagina along with the thick lining of the uterus in the form of menses or menstruation on the 28thday of the menstrual cycle.
The First Period
Many of us remember our first periods. When we were just 11 years old or 15 years old. We had no idea we are going to have this at an early age. You may have seen your mothers and grandmothers are taking care of you at this time by giving you healthy food like mash laddoos, desi ghee, food without chili, and avoiding you to go outside or play. They believe we need complete rest at this time and give us everything on our bed.
The first initial periods are very heavy and can cause very discomfort as you have never experienced it before. You may even have your periods that last from 8 to 11 days. Thatswhy elders don’t allow you to go outside. Young women tend to have longer cycles and older women have shorter cycles with less menstrual flow. If the women are using any birth control pills or contraceptives methods, then their periods can be varied every month. They don’t get periods on time. There may be a delay or they will get it early before their last period date.
In the olden days, women used cotton clothes as sanitary pads for menstrual flow to absorb with which they faced many health issues like infections and cancer in the vagina if proper hygiene was not maintained during periods. Thanks to all the companies who are manufacturing sanitary pads for all the women around the world. This is the safest way to get rid of all the infections during periods.
Symptoms of Periods or Menstruation:-
- Pain in the abdomen. (Can range from mild to severe).
- Abdominal Cramps. (Can range from mild to severe).
- White discharge before the start of a period.
- Leg and Thigh pain.
- Breast tenderness.
- Mood swings.
- Sleeping issues.
- Loss of focus and interest in other activities.
- More hunger.
- Muscle pain.
- Weight gain.
What To Use For Periods:-
1. Sanitary Pads:- This is the most commonly used pad for periods by almost every woman. There are many shapes and sizes of sanitary pads in the market which it comfortable for all women according to their preferences and comfort. They are made up of cotton, so they can absorb the blood easily. They have sticky straps that easily attach to the underwear. During menses, the pads have to be changed every three to four hours or every one hour depending on the flow of the menstrual cycle. Or else it may lead to infections in the vagina and uterus.
2. Menstrual Cup:- Nowadays many women are preferring menstrual cups over sanitary pads because of their low cost and reusable nature. It is made up of silicon. It has to be inserted into the vagina and has to be removed when it fills up with blood. You can wash it in hot water and re-use it for your next period. There will be no pain and it’s absolutely comfortable. But many women don’t prefer it thinking it will be painful to insert and uncomfortable in the vagina.
3. Tampons:- A tampon is like a cotton plug that should be inserted into the vagina. It absorbs the blood and expands when it is full. It is used mainly by women who do swimming or play sports. The main disadvantage of this is that along with the menstrual flow it can also absorb the vaginal secretions which can lead to a very serious infection called TSS (toxic shock syndrome ). This infection is rare but if it occurs it needs immediate medical attention or else it can be life-threatening. Thatswhy it’s important to remove the tampon every 6 to 8 hours or when it becomes full and it has to be inserted properly.
How To Reduce Abdominal Pain:-
- Apply a warm heat pad on your stomach.
- Take ibuprofen or Meftal Spas or Combiflame tablet, if the pain is severe and unbearable. You can take Meftal-spas and Combiflame two times a day based on the severity of your abdominal cramps and pain. These tablets give instant relief within half an hour.
- Lie on your stomach to get some relief.
- Have lemon juice or normal sugar syrup.
- Have lassi or coconut water.
- Apply coconut oil or mustard oil on the abdomen.
- Walk a bit to help your muscles relax.
- While sleeping keep a pillow under your legs and one under your back.
- Drink warm water with desi ghee in it.
- Avoid tea and coffee.
- Hydrate your body.
When to visit the Doctor:-
- Unbearable abdominal pain and severe back pain.
- If you are 15 years old and still didn’t get your first period.
- Bleeding in between your menstrual cycle.
- Irregular periods. Two periods in one month or one period in every 2 to 3 months.
- Very heavy bleeding. Changing your pad every half an hour.
- Periods that last more than a week.