What is menstruation?
The menstruation is part of the female reproductive cycle that begins in the puberty, when the sexual maturity acquires. The blood of the menstruation comes from the inside of the womb and, through the vagina, flows to the outside. The rule lasts between 3 and 7 days and occurs approximately every 28 days.
Why is it produced?
Menstruation is a very complicated process involving different hormones, the sexual organs of women and the brain.
The female’s internal sex organs are: the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus or womb, and the vagina. The ovaries contain the ova. During each menstrual cycle matures one of these eggs due to the action of the hormones that circulate through the blood. When the egg is mature, it separates from the ovary and runs through the fallopian tube to the uterus. In turn, the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) increases in thickness by the action of hormones.
If the egg is fertilized by a spermatozoon, it will adhere to the endometrium: the woman is pregnant. If the egg has not been fertilized, the endometrium will peel off and menstruation will begin. The menstrual flow is made up of the wall of the endometrium thickened during the proliferation phase and blood caused by the rupture of small blood vessels of the endometrium when it is separated from the uterus. The amount of blood lost in normal menstruation is usually less than 80 cc.
When does menstruation begin?
Currently, girls begin to have menstruation between 10 and 14 years. The average age is 12 years. Women will continue to have menses until menopause, which occurs between 45 and 55 years. A woman will have about 500 menstruations throughout her life.
Can ovulation be felt?
Ovulation usually occurs 14 days after the onset of menstruation; However, the exact time varies from one woman to another. Some women know they are ovulating because they feel a slight pain in the lower abdomen. Other women may bleed slightly in the middle of the cycle.
The vaginal discharge also changes in ovulation. It increases in quantity and is more watery due to hormonal changes. In these changes of the vaginal flow one of the natural family planning methods is based.
Women who do not experience these symptoms during ovulation may know later when they have ovulated, taking their temperature. It will rise by half a degree centigrade a day after ovulation. To measure the temperature effectively should be taken each morning before getting out of bed. Readings of temperature taken in different parts of the body, for example, in the mouth, under the arm, in the ear or in the rectum, will offer slightly different results. For this reason, it is important to choose a place and keep it. When checking the temperature there may be increases for various reasons (for example infections); Therefore, should not be used as the sole method of detecting ovulation.
What affects menstruation?
As described above, menstruation is a very complex process involving different hormones, the female sexual organs and the nervous system.
It is important to emphasize that hormones influence and condition the menstrual cycle. If they are altered, the cycle will be affected in the same way. If a woman’s menstrual periods are very irregular, her doctor can request a hormonal test to see if they are altered. This will detect a serious hormonal problem; However, the normal numbers of these hormones have a very wide range, so that some slight imbalances that affect the cycle may be missed.
Weight is another factor that affects hormonal balance. If a woman is underweight, her hormones will not function properly and menstruation may disappear. Recent research shows that obesity can also unbalance hormones and make it difficult for women to become pregnant. On the other hand, stress also affects hormones. Many women feel that being concerned about something affects their menstruation. In some cases, menstruation can be stopped if a woman is very worried about getting pregnant.
Regular exercise and staying fit can help regulate the menstrual cycle. However, too much exercise and excessive physical exertion can have a negative effect on hormones to the point of menstruation.
What are the symptoms of painful periods?
The degree of discomfort during menstruation varies from woman to woman. Some women do not feel any pain, while others experience very unpleasant symptoms:
- Pains in the abdomen.
- Pain in the vagina.
- Feeling of nausea and general malaise.
What can a woman do to relieve her symptoms?
There are several measures that can help alleviate discomfort:
- During menstruation, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, or cocoa.
- Avoid stress. Relaxation and massages can do wonders.
- Exercise and staying fit can help prevent painful menstruation.
- Keep the abdomen warm.
- Use medication to relieve pain if necessary.
- The ingestion of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids present in borage oil, evening primrose or evening primrose seem to have a beneficial effect in alleviating both premenstrual symptoms and painful menstruations.
What causes painful menstruations?
There is no proven theory, but there are several possible reasons:
- Contractions of the uterus similar to those felt during labor due to the action of prostaglandins.
- Dilation of the cervix or neck of the womb to allow the exit of the blood.
- Infections or inflammation of the uterus, or benign tumors in the womb.
In some cases, painful menses are hereditary. If a woman suffers painful menstruations, her daughters are likely to suffer as well.
Why do some women stop having the period (amenorrhea)?
Treatment will be suggested according to the diagnosis. If you are not sure why your periods are gone, see your doctor. Your blood test will usually require a blood test to measure the levels of various hormones in your blood. Menses can be stopped for various reasons. The most frequent are:
- Premature menopause (can affect women from 35 years).
- Weight gain.
- Some medications, such as antidepressant drugs and even the birth control pill.
- Drug use, such as heroin.
- Stress periods.
- Hormonal imbalances such as decreased thyroid activity or excess production of a hormone called prolactin.
- Specific sex hormonal alterations such as polycystic ovarian disease are a frequent cause of irregular menstruations or absences of rules.
- Premature menopause; Which occurs in women younger than 35 years.
- Irregular and infrequent menses (oligomenorrhoea).
Menses can be short, infrequent or irregular either when the woman starts or when she approaches menopause because ovulation does not occur every month. For this same reason the menstruations of the girls when beginning in the puberty neither are long and frequent.
In young women, polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common cause of irregular and uncommon menses. This is a common problem that affects one in ten women. It is characterized by a hormonal imbalance. The diagnosis of this disease is made by one or more blood tests to measure the hormones; A pelvic ultrasound of the ovaries may also be performed as an additional test.
Treatment is only necessary if there is concern about irregular menses or if the woman has difficulty getting pregnant.