A period is when the lining of the womb is being shed and it is normal for women past puberty to experience it about once a month. Having periods mean a woman has a healthy endometrial lining for optimum implantation of a foetus.
Here’re some 6 facts to know about periods :
Let’s start with what a period is. Approximately every 28 days, a woman will have her period but this can range from a 24 to a 35-day cycle. A period usually lasts around five days with heavier bleeding during the first two to three days.
PMS is a group of symptoms that is related to a woman’s period. These symptoms include emotional, psychological and physical symptoms like abdominal bloating, irritability, insomnia, breast tenderness, backache and sometimes feeling a little blue. Symptoms usually improve when the period starts.
It is entirely possible to have irregular periods due to stress or perimenopause – when a woman transitions into menopause- however, other factors that may need medical attention include uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, hormone imbalance, medications, an infection in the uterus or cancer. If you’re concerned about your period and its regularity, do see a gynaecologist for further advice.
Having your period can be very painful especially when it comes to cramps. Some women have intense cramps which are so painful that they’re unable to carry out their normal daily activities. This is called dysmenorrhea which may require medical attention. In addition to cramps, some women may experience diarrhoea, nausea, tiredness and vomiting.
There are certain ways to deal with a problematic period. Firstly, it is important to ensure that there’s nothing medically wrong with you. Afterwards, it’s a matter of developing some coping mechanisms.
For headaches, back and lower abdomen pain, painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used but in moderation and under the supervision of your pharmacist or doctor.
Contraceptive pills may help ease period pains by decreasing the thickness of the lining of the uterus which lowers the amount of contractions during a person’s period.
If you find yourself being a little emotional prior or during your period, try taking up meditation to help you beat stress and relax. Other ways of relaxing include exercise like yoga and going for a massage!
A hot water bottle held against your tummy can help reduce the discomfort of period cramps. This is a great coping technique especially if you’re unable to take painkillers.
Disposable sanitary products include sanitary napkins, commonly known as pads, which are stuck on the underwear and absorbs the blood discharged, and tampons which are inserted into the vagina and absorb the blood before it exits the vagina.
Tampons are very popular especially for women who want to swim on their periods or prefer to avoid the smell and feel of sanitary napkins. The advantage of disposable sanitary products is that it’s more hygienic and affordable. Conversely, these sanitary products will end up in landfills and possibly pollute the environment.
There are also reusable menstrual products such as cloth pads which can be washed and used again and again. Menstrual cups, usually made with medical grade silicone, are inserted directly into the vagina to collect the blood and tissues discharged and needs to be emptied every 12 or so hours.