February 28, 2024

What is Menstruation ? | Do’s and Don’ts during periods and more

Menstruation is a natural part of the reproductive cycle in which blood from the uterus passes through the vagina.  This is a natural process that usually begins in girls between the ages of 10 and 15 and is a sign of the onset of puberty.  In this article of ours, you will get the answer to every question related to menstruation.  Learn how the menstrual cycle works and what to do if you have painful or irregular periods.

What is Menstruation ?

Women are born with two small, grape-sized ovaries on either side of their uterus inside the abdomen.  The ovary is filled with hundreds of eggs.  When you reach puberty, your ovaries make hormones (especially estrogen) that trigger breast development and menstruation.  The pituitary gland in your brain secretes chemical messengers (FSH and LH) called gonadotropins, which send a message to your ovaries to release a mature egg once a month.  The egg then travels to the uterus.

If the egg is not fertilized by a sperm, two weeks later, the thick, bloody lining (endometrium) that builds up in your uterus between periods exits your body through your vagina.  As it comes, this is your period.  The whole process is called menstruation, it starts when your body is ready for it.  Most menstruation lasts for 3 to 5 days.

When menstruation (menstruation) comes regularly, it is called menstrual cycle.  Having regular periods indicates that the vital organs of your body are functioning properly.  The menstrual cycle provides important bodily chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy.

Your menstrual cycle prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle counts from the first day of your period.  The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long.  However, this cycle can be between 21 and 35 days in adults and 21 to 45 days in young adolescents.  The rise and fall of hormone levels throughout the month regulates the myths about periods menstrual cycle.

Myths about periods

Despite being a women-only issue, it has always been surrounded by secrecy and myths in many societies.  Various taboos related to menstruation exclude women and girls from many aspects of social and cultural life.

  • Culturally in many parts of India, menstruation is still considered dirty and impure.  Women are also prevented from participating in the activities of normal life.  There does not appear to be any scientific reason for the belief that menstruation makes women “impure.”
  • Many girls and women face restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating.  They are also prevented from praying in the temple and touching holy books.  Although, with the efforts of some social workers, such restrictions are now being eased, but the situation has not changed in rural areas.
  • It is also believed that menstruating women are harmful and impure, so the food they prepare may be contaminated.  However, as long as general hygiene measures are taken into account, there are no scientific tests to substantiate this myth.
  • It is also believed that a woman can use her menstrual blood to force her will on a man.  Which is called vashikaran in menstruation.  Interestingly, such beliefs are still practiced, not only in India, but also in other countries of Asia.  However, there is no rational or scientific explanation available for this.
  • In some parts of India, some strict dietary restrictions are also followed during menstruation such as sour food like curd, tamarind and pickle are generally not allowed for girls during menstruation.  It is believed that such foods can affect or stop the menstrual flow.

What to do during periods ?

  • First of all change your thinking about menstruation.  Many women see this as a punishment.  Whereas it is an integral natural part of your life.  You should feel proud about your period as a sign of being a woman because it is associated with the special quality of being a mother.  This positive thinking of yours will help in reducing the worry about period.
  • Take care of your menstruation.  Tracking your monthly period will not only help you know when it is due, but can also help you.  When you plan to get pregnant, you will know the best time of pregnancy.
  • You can keep full details of the day your period begins and ends in a calendar, journal, or through a mobile app.  There are several apps, such as Strawberry Pal or Clue, that can help you track your monthly period and set reminders when your next cycle starts.
  • Remember that during the first year of menstruation, sometimes these are unexpected and may come at any time.  Don’t worry if this happens as it is completely normal.  However, after the first year, your monthly periods will be in a more regular pattern and it will be easier to track.
  • Menstrual periods vary between women.  They can last from 21 to 35 days and your period can last from two to seven days.  It may be regular and occur at the same time each month, or it may be irregular.  When you are sexually active it is very important to monitor your periods.
  • Carry feminine hygiene products with you at all times.  Keep a spare tampon, panty liner or pad in your purse, backpack, and car.  That way, you can be safe even if your period suddenly comes.  This is especially important if you have irregular periods and you can’t predict exactly when your next period will start.

What not to do during periods ?

  • Do not wax : Estrogen levels drop during your period.  Having such a low estrogen count makes you feel a lot of physical pain, making your body very sensitive.  In such a situation, getting waxed can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.
  • Do not watch romantic and sad movies : Your feelings vary greatly during your period.  Hormone levels are unbalanced and your body tries to adapt but your mind doesn’t know how to react.  In such a situation, emotional films can be like a disaster for you.  They can increase your sensitivity.  Use this time to watch new comedy movies instead.
  • Do not be inattentive thinking that the flow is less at night.  Otherwise you may get in trouble.  When you go to bed at night, be extra careful.
  • Don’t use your pads for more than 4 hours : Even though you can use each product for up to 8 hours according to the box directions of the pad or tampon, it’s a good idea to change it every 3 to 4 hours.  This limits your discomfort and prevents bacteria from growing.
  • Don’t take extra calories : It is true that during menstruation you take in some extra calories due to fluid retention.  It is also true that once the cycle is complete you return to your normal weight.  But it is not true that the calories you take on those days do not count.  Unfortunately, any extra calories we take in, we have to burn them or else these calories can make you gain weight.

What not to eat during periods ?

Eat foods rich in iron mineral.  Although calcium is also good during menstruation, dairy products are not good.  They contain arachidonic acid, which can cause more cramping in the lower abdomen.  Experts say that do not consume food high in sodium at all.  Excess sodium intake may cause fluid retention, bloating and more cramping.

Menstrual pain causes and remedies

Pain during menstruation is very common, affecting 40 to 70 percent of menstruating women.  This type of pain, called dysmenorrhea, feels like cramping in the lower abdomen and usually occurs before or during menstruation.

Dysmenorrhea is not a serious condition in most teenage girls, even though the cramps can be severe.  Pain in older women is sometimes caused by a disease or condition such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis.  For some women, using a heating pad or taking a hot bath helps ease their cramps.  Some over-the-counter pain medications can also help with these symptoms.  If these medicines do not give you relief from pain.  Then you should see a doctor.

Causes and remedies for delayed menstruation

In both women and teenage girls nearing menopause, hormonal changes can cause long periods with irregular cycles.  If the cause is hormonal changes, you can still get treatment.  This can be due to stress, over-exercise, weight loss or diet.

You should keep in mind that these can also be caused by other serious health problems such as uterine fibroids, polyps or cancer.

Thanks for reading this article

Also read | What causes irregular periods ? – Reasons for delayed periods

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