Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle

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Every aspect of your menstrual cycle provides you with information —the length, volume and colour of blood, timing of ovulation, basal body temperatures, PMS, and cramping—gives you information about your health.

A “regular occurring” period comes about every twenty-eight days. It should sit between 3-5 days of bleeding, and replacement of a tampon, pad or menstrual cup every four hours.

Period cramps are the by-product of excess prostaglandins (hormone-like substances), released from the uterus lining as it prepares to shed. If you’ve experienced labour you can relate, as prostaglandins trigger the uterus to contract in preparation for birth.

Menstrual cramps aren’t supposed to be severe. They are purposeful, but annoying; they can be best described as a dull ache, but should not be causing you agony.

When you’re doubled-over in pain during menses, something isn’t right. Menorrhagia (heavy periods with excessive loss of blood) can be alerting you to an underlying condition causing your body to be so reactive. High oestrogen levels, fibroids, endometriosis and adenomyosis should be explored by your doctor.

Temporary measures such as heat compression, ibuprofen, meditation and magnesium supplementation and long-cycling the contraceptive pill can aide with cramps.

Ultimately, it’s your body and you know it better than anyone! If you are fed up with the heavy bleeding and pain, chat to your GP and collect a referral to see a gynaecologist. Your body will thank you for it!

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