Women health

What your menstrual cycle is attempting to tell you

Standard metrics used by doctors to assess your health include your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. When you're attempting to figure out what's going on in your body, you should also examine your period.

If you think about it, it makes logic. Sudden variations in the amount of blood in your urine, the intensity of your cramps, spotting between cycles, and other inexplicable changes are all signs that something is wrong with your period. It could be a little problem, but it could also be a warning sign of something more serious than you shouldn't ignore.

We sought the help of Sherry A. Ross, MD, ob-gyn, and author of She-Ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health, to help us decipher what your monthly cycle is trying to tell you. Dr. Ross identifies six changes to be aware of, as well as the disorders that may be causing them.

If you notice large, jelly-like blood clots...

Although they're unsightly, blood clots on your tampon or in the toilet are very typical during your period. They appear when your flow is really strong, and the anticoagulants that normally break down clots before they leave your body can't keep up with how quickly your uterine lining is being lost.

"They're usually dark or brilliant red in color, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes," Dr. Ross explains. "Raisin-sized clots are usually nothing to be concerned about." Larger, thicker clots that are larger than a quarter in size, on the other hand, maybe cause alarm. Large clots can be a sign of an illness or possibly a miscarriage, and a hormone imbalance that leads to a very heavy flow could be the cause.

Let your gyno know if you've had huge clots for a few cycles in a row so she can take a deeper look at what's going on.

If your period becomes extremely heavy or lasts an indefinite amount of time

Some women have 3-day cycles, while others have six- or seven-day periods. Menorrhagia, on the other hand, is a medical term for a prolonged or heavy flow that lasts more than a week. "An overactive or underactive thyroid, as well as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)," Dr. Ross explains to Health. "Hormone-disrupting medications, such as thyroid medications, steroids, and antipsychotics, are frequently to blame."

Fibroids and polyps in the uterus are two benign growths that might cause problems. Another factor to consider is the individual's age.

Hormone changes can cause women in their late 30s and 40s to have shorter or longer periods as they enter perimenopause—the years leading up to menopause. Because extra pounds raise estrogen levels in the body, extreme weight gain can make your flow thicker.

"I recommend contacting your health care practitioner if you discover your periods are occurring more frequently, less than 21 days apart, or lasting more than seven days for more than three months," adds Dr. Ross.

Spots period

Spots—or mild bleeding—at any time during the month other than your period can be concerning. If it only happens once in a while and is only a few drops of blood, it's usually nothing to worry about and could simply be the consequence of fluctuating hormone levels.

However, if it's persistent—for example, if you go through a pad or tampon every month—or if it happens month after month, tell your ob-gyn. Hormonal birth control, fibroids, or an infection could all be factors. On a more serious note, spotting could indicate uterine or cervical cancer, so be tested as soon as possible to rule these out.

If you have watery or grey menstruation blood

"Blood tends to be bright red at the start of your period, then brown or black when the bleeding stops," Dr. Ross explains. The effect of oxygen on blood is that the longer it takes for blood to leave the body, the darker it becomes.

There are a few hue shifts worth noticing. Blood that seems watery could be a mixture of vaginal discharge and blood, which can happen during pregnancy. Dr. Ross explains that normal spotting during pregnancy can appear like watery blood because the blood is combined with the increased vaginal fluids that are common during pregnancy.

If one menstrual blood is watery and/or grayish in color, it could indicate an illness, such as an STD, especially if it smells terrible.

If your menstruation disappears

Although PCOS and thyroid difficulties might make your period heavier and last longer, the hormonal changes that accompany these two disorders may also cause your period to vanish. Stress can also disrupt ovulation, causing you to miss a period or two.

If you lose weight, don't be surprised if your period stops. According to Dr. Ross, "extreme weight loss produces a decrease in body fat and estrogen production, resulting in lighter or nonexistent periods." Hormone variations might cause inconsistent, unexpected periods or a flow that goes missing for months if you're breastfeeding or going through perimenopause.

If you notice a three-month gap in your period—and you're sure you're not pregnant and it's not menopause—see your doctor make sure there isn't another reason that time of the month has turned into that time of the season.

If your cramps get unbearably bad

It's unjust, yet cramps are a reality of life for over 80% of women. What is the reason for this? The uterus is essentially one large muscle. Cramps occur as the uterus contracts to help shed its lining during your period.

It's likely that cramps have always been a problem for you (in which case, we apologize). However, if you have severe lower back or pelvic pain during your period, it could be a sign of something more serious, such as endometriosis, a disorder in which uterine tissue migrates into the pelvic cavity and adheres to surrounding organs including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even the rectum. "Women with endometriosis have severe cramps," explains Dr. Ross.

If you're having severe period cramps that keep you from doing your normal activities and don't improve after using over-the-counter pain relievers—or if the discomfort occurs at other times of the month as well—see your doctor. Although there is no definite test for endometriosis, if your gynecologist suspects you have it, she can prescribe birth control pills or other medications to help you feel better.



Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post