Period is a problem. For every girl and woman. An entirely unwanted personal thing. For most of the female species. It brings forth pain, discomfort, mood swings, pre-menstrual syndromes(PMS) and unnecessary dysfunctionality. But it must have been given as a necessary process in a But certain things about it like how often a woman has it, for how long it lasts, the heaviness of it’s flow are different for every one. Some of these indicators can offer some hints about different developments going in our bodies except when one uses a hormonal method of birth control or an IUD where periods don’t indicate much. Some indicators trying to tell a bigger story of serious health issues in women are:-
Heavy flow-Almost one third of women complain of heavy flowing periods where they have to change the tampons every hour or so or during the night, have periods that last for more than a week or pass blood clots bigger than a quarter. The possible causes for these symptoms may be problems with the reproductive organs or hormones, infections like pelvic inflammatory disease, some blood disorders, blood thinning medicines including aspirin or a copper IUD.
When one loses blood through heavy periods one loses red blood cells and that can lead to iron-deficiency called anemia. According to a study 5% of women in the childbearing age experience this condition. If one is short of breath, feels weak and fatigued, looks pale and has a rapid heartbeat then they should consult a doctor. A simple blood test can tell you if any treatment is needed.
Missed periods-The most common of a missed period is pregnancy. But stress, a hormonal imbalance, being underweight, scar tissue and some meds can also stop periods. And if you have skipped them thrice in a row you must see a doctor. Some other symptoms like extra hair growth, acne and trouble controlling one’s weight may suggest Polycystic ovary syndrome. And irregular periods are also a result of menopause.
Early periods-If one gets their periods less than 24 days apart then they must see a doctor. But getting one’s periods as often as every 3 weeks could still be normal. It can take some years after your first period to set in a schedule from 24 to 38 days. Too much exercise, excessive weight loss and stress can change the menstrual cycle too.
Bleeding between periods-Growths in and around the uterus like endometriosis, fibroids or polyps, problems with hormones or the type of birth control pill one is using and STDs including chlamydia and gonorrhea can be responsible for blood emission in between periods phases or the off-season. Some women may also spot a little bit 10-14 days after getting pregnant. And as it could be many things one should take it seriously and consult a doctor.
Blood color-The fresh blood at the start of the period is usually bright red. A heavy flow can be darker especially with clots. Older blood is rusty brown in color.
Cramps-More than half of the menstruating women hurt in their low bellies, thighs or back for a day or two every month just before or as the bleeding starts. Some women also feel queasy and tired or have diarrhea. Some women also feel cramps or primary dysmenorrhea on the muscle contractions of the uterus as it tightens and relaxes. But these tend to get better as one gets older and they may stop totally after having a baby.
Other cramps-Some cramps start earlier in the cycle and last longer. And they don’t give a sickening feeling. But they aren’t normal. In this condition the lining of your uterus may be growing where it shouldn’t which is called Endometriosis or Adenomyosis or one may have Fibroids which are noncancerous growths in your uterus or have Pelvic Inflammatory disease, a serious infection that can lead to infertility and long-term pain.
Problems in the bathroom-If it hurts when you pee or poop or if you have diarrhea or constipation during periods then you may have to contact your doc and get diagnosis.
Regular headaches-If you get a headache around the start of your periods every month it could be related to a drop in the estrogen levels or the release of Prostaglandin or a menstrual migraine. It may not be recognized as a migraine because there’s no aura and it lasts longer than the other kinds of migraines. Some anti-inflammatory painkillers like Mefenamic acid and Naproxen may help to prevent them. Or the level of estrogen can be made balanced and steadier.
Bleeding after menopause-Bleeding issue after menopause may be from Uterine polyps. It is more common in women who aren’t having periods anymore. These growths are related to the estrogen levels so one may get them if one is taking Tamoxifen for breast cancer. Polyps may become cancer and Endometrial cancer can also cause heavy post-menopausal bleeding.
So these signs of menstruation should not be ignored and proper medical advice should be taken if one has these symptoms. Because serious ailments come with minute signs. And nothing is worth ignorance in this fast-paced, difficult and messed up scenario of life. Take care.