For a young lady, it is important to figure out early in her life that her menstrual cycle goes well beyond simply getting her periods every month.
The menstrual cycle in fact involves a complex interaction between the brain, the ovaries, the uterus & the female hormones – progesterone & oestrogen.
Situated at the base of the brain is the pituitary gland, which signals the ovaries to secrete progesterone & oestrogen to prepare the body for a possible pregnancy.
In the event conception fails to occur, the menstrual period cycle commences during which, a combination of blood, mucus, and the cells lining the uterine cavity are eliminated through the vaginal opening. This is the ‘period’, which can last from 2 to 7 days.
Comprehending the menstrual cycle and its stages:
The menstrual cycle begins from the first day of your last period till the first day of your next cycle. This period varies greatly from person to person and can last from 24 to 38 days on an average.
The length of your cycle also varies with age from menarche (commencement of periods during puberty) to menopause (permanent cessation of periods) which progresses in four main phases:
- Menstruation: aptly described as the weeping of the uterus – is the shedding of the tissue lining the wall of the uterus, which had thickened in anticipation of the embryo getting embedded into the uterine wall.
- The Follicular Phase: Commencing from day 1 of your period, it lasts up until ovulation. During this phase, oestrogen levels rise, preparing the ovaries for the release of an egg for possible fertilization.
The uterine lining begins to build up again in this phase.
- Ovulation Phase: this is the part of the cycle during which, an egg is released from one of the ovaries. It travels through the fallopian tubes wherein it may get fertilized by a single sperm. Subsequently this fertilized egg implants itself into the lining along the walls of your uterus.
The approximate life span of this egg is about 24 hours. It dies and is shed along with the uterine lining it is fails to get fertilized by a sperm cell during this window period of 24 hours.
- The Luteal Phase: the uterine lining has to thicken in order to nurture the fertilized egg if and when it embeds itself into the uterine wall. This building up of the wall thickness is facilitated by the rise in level of progesterone. This phase that occurs between ovulation and the first day of your period is called the luteal phase. If pregnancy does not occur, the progesterone levels drop, causing the uterine lining to break down. It is shed away, along with other menstrual fluid and mucus and blood.
Why should you track menstrual cycle? How can you track menstrual cycle?
You can note down your period dates some place in a journal or imprint those dates on a schedule to anticipate and be prepared for your next periods. Tracking your cycle has additionally now become a lot more straightforward It can be done by just downloading a relevant application on your cell phone.
How would you work out your period?
A woman’s cycle is an exceptionally private period. Every lady encounters it in an unexpected way, and for that reason it is helpful to investigate it’s computation. To calculate your monthly cycle, you should begin the first day of your period and count up to the last day before your next period starts. Notwithstanding, you ought to be careful that periods might fluctuate.
How do you calculate your menstrual cycle?
The female menstrual cycle is a very personal experience. Each woman experiences it differently. To calculate your menstrual cycle, you should start on the very first day of your period and count up to the very last day before your next period begins. However, you should be mindful that menstrual cycles may vary due to several reasons.
For example, if your period commenced on 1st March and ended on 6th March, you will start calculating your menstrual cycle from 1st March. If your next period arrives on 28th March, your menstrual cycle lasted from 1st March to 28th March, meaning that your menstrual cycle is on an average 28 days long.
It is vital to note, notwithstanding, that pre-period spotting shouldn’t be considered. Your period starts when you begin bleeding consistently.
Is your menstrual cycle regular ?
If you monitor your menstrual cycle closely, you can quickly recognize irregularities and atypical periods.
While a single missed, delayed or early period should not raise alarm, if your menstrual cycle is consistently irregular, you might want to pay your gynecologist a visit.
There can be several underlying causes that lead to irregular periods. Some of them are:
- Hormonal imbalances: Several studies have established a link between menstrual irregularities and hormonal disorders such as hyper or hypothyroidism. If your menstrual irregularities are coupled with sudden weight loss or weight gain, hair loss, or an irritable bowel it is best to check with your doctor.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: The most common symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS are irregular periods. Other symptoms to watch out for are weight gain, excess hair fall, growth of excess facial hair or body hair, etc.
- Stress and anxiety: are known to interfere with your menstrual cycle – whether that is in the form of menstrual irregularities, delays in periods, or even shorter menstrual cycles. Of these, menstrual irregularities are most common in women facing excess stress.
How can you prevent menstrual irregularities?
There are a few science based strategies that can help in regularizing your monthly cycle, for example yoga. Exercising routinely and eating right help greatly. Should simple self remedies not help, you must consult your gynecologist.
Where can you get help for menstrual irregularities?
Monitoring your menstrual cycle will help you identify the early warning signs. You can then schedule an appointment with your doctor and based on your symptoms your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes, medication to regularize your cycle, or a combination of both. It is important not to ignore the signs and suffer in silence. Whatever be the underlying cause of irregularity in your menstrual cycle, your gynecologist is qualified to help you find a solution.
Tracking your monthly cycle will assist you with recognizing the early warning signs. You can then schedule a meeting with your doctor and in light of your symptoms your primary care physician might recommend life style changes, drugs to regularize your cycle, or a mix of both. It is important not to disregard the signs and suffer silently. Whatever be the fundamental reason for irregularity in your monthly cycle, your gynecologist is the best person to assess your cycle and diagnose the reasons for the problem.