Menstruation and Women Health
Menstruation is the release of endometrial tissue and blood that occurs as part of the menstrual cycle. This cycle is controlled by hormones produced in both the brain and ovaries and prepares the reproductive organs for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining begins to break down and discharges from the body through the vagina as the menstrual period.
Menstrual disorders involve the absence of menses (amenorrhea) and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Menstrual symptoms include the following;
- Menstrual cramps
- Ovulation pain
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Menstruation usually start when women are around 12 or 13 years old (puberty) and continues until menopause (around 50 years old ). These are considered as woman’s reproductive years and indicate a woman is physically able to become pregnant. Menstrual periods usually occur once a month and last for 3-7 days during each month. A missed menstrual period is frequently the first signal of pregnancy has occurred. The uterine lining is not shed, but rather will grow during pregnancy and develop into the placenta (a temporary organ that provides nourishment for the developing embryo). Missed periods may also indicate the presence of other gynecological problems, such as hormonal or endocrine disorders.
Eumenorrhea denotes normal, regular menstruation that lasts for 3 to 5 days, (but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is considered normal). The average blood loss during menstruation is around 35 millilitres with 10-80 mL considered normal, many women also notice shedding of the endometrium lining that appears as tissue mixed with the blood. Sometimes this is erroneously thought to indicate an early-term miscarriage of an embryo. An enzyme called plasmin — contained in the endometrium — tends to inhibit the blood from clotting.
Majority of women typically use sanitary napkins (pads) or tampons to absorb menstrual flow. Before and during menstruation, women may experience some mild to moderate cramps, water retention and irritability.
In many women, various intense sensations brought about by the involved hormones and by cramping of the uterus can precede or accompany menstruation. Stronger sensations may include significant menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), abdominal pain, migraine headaches, depression, emotional sensitivity, feeling bloated, and changes in sex drive. Breast discomfort caused by premenstrual water retention or hormone fluctuation is very common. The sensations experienced vary from woman to woman and from month to month.
Some women may experience emotional side-effects. Their emotion looks quite unstable. These range from the irritability popularly associated with Premenstrual Syndrome, tiredness, depress or "weepiness" (i.e. tears of emotional closeness).
The normal menstrual flow follows a "crescendo-decrescendo" pattern; that is, it starts at a moderate level, increases somewhat, and then slowly tapers. Sudden heavy flows or amounts in excess of 80 mL (hypermenorrhea or menorrhagia) may stem from hormonal disturbance, uterine abnormalities, including uterine leiomyoma or cancer, and other causes.
The typical woman bleeds for two to seven days at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. Prolonged bleeding (metrorrhagia, also meno-metrorrhagia) no longer shows a clear interval pattern. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is hormonally caused bleeding abnormalities, typically anovulation. All these bleeding abnormalities need medical attention; they may indicate hormone imbalances, uterine fibroids, or other problems. As pregnant patients may bleed, a pregnancy test forms part of the evaluation of abnormal bleeding.
Day 1 -7: Menstruation - Normally 3-7 days.
Every woman's cycle (the time from the first day of your menstrual period until the first day of your next menstrual period) is different. On average, a woman has her menstrual period for 3-7 days. The average length of a woman's cycle is 28-32 days. This leaves plenty of room for a woman to vary from her neighbour, friend, or co-worker. Women also vary in the severity of symptoms that occur before and during menstruation.
Approximately 85% of women who menstruate report changes in the days or weeks before their menstruation that cause problems that affect their normal lives. This is known as Premenstrual Syndrome.
During menstruation, the uterus, which is a muscle, contracts and relaxes more than it does at other times in the month. This can produce an uncomfortable feeling of cramps. Using a heating pad or hot water bottle may help ease some of the discomforts. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen may also help. Other discomforts during menstruation may include breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and food cravings. Some women will experience these symptoms more than others will, and not every woman will experience all of these symptoms.
Day 8 -11: The lining of the womb thickens in preparation for the egg.
Hormones trigger your ovaries to produce and release one egg from either your right or your left ovary. This is called ovulation. Before ovulation occurs, your uterine lining is thickening to prepare for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. If an egg is not fertilized, then the uterine lining sheds. This is called menstruation or your menstrual period.
Day 12 -18: Ovulation
Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube and is available to be fertilized. The lining of the uterus has thickened to prepare for a fertilized egg.
Day 18-25: If fertilization has not taken place, the corpus luteum fades away.
Day 26 -28: The uterine lining detaches leading to menstruation.
Vaginal infections or vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that creates discharge, odor, , itching, and burning are common symptoms of the various forms of vaginitis. Although the symirritation or itching. Three vaginal infections are the most common. Their causes are quite different, their symptoms similar, and treatment varies.
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Vaginal yeast infection
Vaginal Infection Symptoms
Vaginal discharge syptoms of these infections can be very similar, there are some differences to look for in the color and smell of the discharge.
Please click here Vaginal Infection for more information about infection cause, symptom and treatment.
Vaginal discharge is normal and varies during the menstruation cycle. Before ovulation (the release of the egg), there is a lot of mucous produced, up to 30 times more than after ovulation. It is also more watery and elastic during that phase of your cycle. You may need to wear panty liners during that time.
The things to be worried about include if the discharge has a yellow or green colour is clumpy like cottage cheese or has a bad odour.
Different Types of Discharge
Thick and white discharge is common during the menstrual cycle. Normal white discharge is not accompanied by itching. If itching is present, a thick white discharge can indicate a yeast infection.
Clear and stretchy:
This is "fertile" mucous and means women are ovulating.
Clear and watery:
This occurs at different times of women menstrual cycle and can be particularly heavy after exercising.
Yellow or Green:
Yellow or Green discharge indicates a vaginal infection, especially if clumpy or thick like cottage cheese or has a foul odour.
This may happen right after periods and is just "cleaning out" your vaginal. Old blood looks brown.
Spotting Blood/Brown Discharge:
This may occur when you are ovulating/mid-cycle. Sometimes early in pregnancy, you may have spotting or a brownish discharge at the time your period would normally come. If you have spotted at the time of your normal period rather than your usual amount of flow and you have had sex without using birth control, you should check a pregnancy test.
A normal vaginal discharge consists of about a teaspoon a day that is white or transparent, thick to thin and odourless. This is formed by the normal bacteria and fluids the vaginal cells put off. The discharge can be more noticeable at different times of the month depending on ovulation, menstrual flow, sexual activity and birth control.
It is not uncommon for the normal discharge to be dark, brown or discoloured a day or two following the menstrual period.
If you are having the following symptoms, please get advice from your doctor.
- Rash or sores alone or with a vaginal discharge.
Sanitary Napkins (Pads) and Vaginal Infection/Discharge
Sanitary napkins play an important role in the prevention of vaginal infection/discharge. Choose high quality and healthy features sanitary napkin is an important step to take care of our vaginal health. Please click here How to choose sanitary napkins? And Sanitary Napkins with Negative Ion to know more about it.