Vaginal bleeding that occurs at the end of the menstrual cycle is called the menstrual period. Each month the female body prepares to get pregnant. The thicker lining is developed by uterus and ovaries releases eggs that can be fertilized by sperm are released by ovaries. Hormones rise and fall.
This is a menstrual cycle. It is a time between the first day of the last period and the first day of the next period. If the egg released by ovaries is not fertilized, pregnancy won’t occur during the menstrual cycle. Then, the body sheds the built-up uterine lining resulting period, means, or menstruation.
Most of the girls experience their first period between ages 12 and 14. However, getting the first period at any time between age 10 and 15 is considered okay. Periods will then continue to occur on a regular basis (usually monthly) until menopause, or after age 51.
For the first or second year of mensuration, the female tends to have a longer menstrual cycle that does not start at the same time every month. Older women or girls after her 3rd year of menstruation have shorter and more consistent cycles.
Menstrual health and complications
Though the average menstrual cycle covers from 24 to 38 days, anything between 21 and 45 days is considered normal. The period can last between 4 to 8 days.
A regular period is the signs of the normal menstrual cycle and signs of the body preparing the possible pregnancy. However, missed periods other than pregnancy can point towards hormonal imbalance and serious health conditions.
Bleeding is must but according to the females who menstruates say they get different kinds of symptoms before the start of their period.
Food craving is one of them. Most of the females just before period crave foods that are rich in carbohydrates and sugar. Some research suggests that it is because of the changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Another common symptom that females experience is breasts tenderness. Due to the reduced levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone just before the menstrual period can cause swelling of milk glands or sore breasts which can contribute to breasts pain.
At the same time, period pain aka cramps or dysmenorrhea in a medical term is another common symptom. 84% of females experience some kind of pain during their period. Every female has her own areas of the body that gives struggle to her during periods. Some may feel pain around their pelvic area or in the lower back while some get cramps on her upper leg.
Prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause muscles contraction in the uterus are the cause of this pain. These hormones help the body space to live the excess uterine lining, which can cause pain and cramping in the first day if period starts in the morning or in the second day if the period starts in the evening.
Females with certain medical condition or females that follows intense exercise are likely to experience an irregular period. An irregular period can occur in the females that are:
Irregular period leads to a painful and heavy period that affects up to 14% of females in their childbearing years. Moreover, the study done in 2012 found 32 to 40% of females who have to miss work or office due to severe pain caused by irregular period.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Females experience a series of symptoms that occur in a week or two before the start of their periods. Some of the symptoms are:
3 in 4 women is affected by PMS, reports WomensHealth.gov.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Similar to PMS, PMDD is more severe that can cause:
5% of women are estimated to experience PMDD.
Poor menstrual hygiene
Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to many issues including bacterial or fungal infection of the reproductive tract and urinary tract. Skin irritation can possibly result in dermatitis – a medical condition where skin swells turns red, also become sore with blisters if lasts longer. These are the result of the unavailability of menstrual products or basic sanitation utilities including clean water.
Periods around the world
In Nepal, a 21-year-old woman lost her life due to smoke inhalation after she lit a fire to warm herself during menstrual exile. Menstrual exile, also known as “Chhaupadi” – a tradition of untouchability is followed in Nepal. Though most of the people have stopped following “Chhaupadi”, people in far-western Nepal still follows it. During Menstrual exile, females are forbidden from touching people especially boys, objects. They are even forced to live away from the community and sleep outside in huts or sheds until their period ends. Usually, the huts are not heated or insulated enough to provide adequate warmth but also females has to live in the hut even in the winter season where the temperature can fall into single digits or lower.
Similar practice as Nepal is followed in some parts of India where women have to isolate themselves until their period ends.
Not every culture avoids females because of this natural cycle.
In some part of Africa, the menstrual period is considered as a shift from childhood to adulthood. Special kinds of huts and homes are set for a girl when she experiences her first period where she is joined by their female family members and other women during this time.
Female has to invest half of her income for her menstrual period while male may still be unknown about it. Countries like Canada have dropped taxes on tampons and other menstrual products back in 2015.