Your Cycle and Period Problems
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus (more commonly known as the womb). The menstrual blood—which is partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus—flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina.
What is a normal menstrual cycle?
A menstrual cycle begins on the first day of a period. The average cycle is 28 days long but it can range in length from 21 days to about 35 days. Most women bleed for 3 to 5 days, but a period lasting only 2 days to as many as 7 days is still considered normal.
At what age does menstruation typically begin?
Girls start menstruating at the average age of 12. However, girls can begin menstruating as early as 8 years of age or as late as 16 years of age. Women stop menstruating at menopause which occurs at about the age of 51 but there is a wide variation so for most it is between age 45 and age 55.
What are some of the symptoms of a normal period?
- Trouble sleeping
- Food cravings
- Cramps in the lower abdomen and back
- Tenderness in the breasts
You should consider seeing a doctor if:
- You have not started menstruating by the age of 16
- You have severe pain during your period
- You have bleeding between periods
- You have heavy bleeding
- You have not had a period for three months
- You have severe premenstrual stress/ tension
Periods have not started by age 16
The time of first period varies a lot. The average age is around 12 but anywhere between age 9 and 16 is normal. Outside of this age range may still be normal but it is worthwhile checking with a doctor.
Periods usually start about two years after the first signs of puberty. Breasts beginning to develop and pubic hair growing are indications of puberty.READ MORE
Most women will have some pain just before and during bleeding. It can vary from cycle to cycle with some periods being pain free while at other times there can be pelvic cramps, pain radiating down the inner thighs or a dull aching sensation in the pelvis. Simple remedies such as taking a painkiller such as ibuprofen or putting a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen is usually enough to ease the discomfort.
Women can develop painful periods as they get older and this may be a sign that there is an underlying medical condition causing the pain. Endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis are all causes of progressive period pain.READ MORE
Bleeding Between Periods
Many women experience bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives.READ MORE
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
As women get older and particular after having children periods tend to get heavier. However, periods lasting longer than 7 days or where bleeding is so heavy that you are passing blood clots or having to get up at night to change is not normal and should be investigated.READ MORE
You Have Not Had a Period for Three Months
It is quite common to miss a period or two at some point in your life but if they restart again there is no cause for concern. However, if periods have stopped for more than three months you should consider having a check up with a doctor.READ MORE
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a collection of symptoms that occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle. A key feature is that symptoms are cyclical and that they disappear within 48 hours of the onset of menstruation.READ MORE