Menstruation is a symbol of femininity and of life. And also a health indicator! Maybe when the rule comes, the only message you read is that you are not pregnant, but menstruation can give you much more information about your health.
There are different anomalies that can be an indicator of weight problems, defenses, hormonal imbalances … Pay attention to your rule, I may be trying to tell you something!
FIRST: WHAT IS A NORMAL MENSTRUATION?
To detect possible anomalies, you must first know what is normal for you: duration of the cycle, amount of menstrual flow, pain … Keep in mind:
- The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts until the first day of the next. It is considered a normal cycle when it lasts between 21 and 35 days (1).
- A menstrual period that lasts 2 to 7 days is considered normal, although some women may deviate slightly. (one)
- In the first years of menstruation it is normal to have irregularities due to the immaturity of the hormonal system.
- It is also common for the period to last longer during the first years of menstruation and to shorten as the years go by.
- In the years surrounding menopause (perimenopause) more irregularities occur due to normal hormonal changes.
- Hormonal contraceptives can also alter your menstrual cycle. (one)
WHAT IRREGULARITIES COULD YOU EXPERIENCE AND WHAT DO THEY INDICATE?
Lack of menstruation
What may indicate: pregnancy, menopause or perimenopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high stress , below-normal weight, thyroid dysfunction (among others).
The absence of menstruation is one of the indicators that you should consider the most. If pregnancy is ruled out and you are not in the years of perimenopause, it is important to find the cause to avoid health problems. It is advisable to go to the doctor if you have 3 to 6 months without having the period.
The first menstrual cycles, at puberty, usually occur between 11 and 14 years and are usually irregular until about 18 or 20 years. If the menarche (first menstruation) is delayed a long time or the menstrual cycle presents alterations after the indicated period, it is advisable to consult the gynecologist. (two)
Very painful menstruation
What may indicate: endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, vaginal scarring. (6)
The pain in menstruation is normal (think that our uterus becomes inflamed until it is almost twice!) (3). However, if it is a debilitating pain that can affect your daily life, it is advisable to talk with your gynecologist or doctor to rule out problems such as endometriosis, a disease that causes the tissue that breaks off in each menstruation, grows outside the uterus in places such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes or lower abdomen; As there is no way for this tissue to leave the body, it causes pain. If conventional pain medications do not work for you, you should seek medical attention.
Excess menstrual flow
What may indicate: fibroids, hemophilia, hormonal imbalance
Excessive menstrual flows are characterized by the need to change your compress every 1/2 hour or by an uninterrupted flow of more than 7 days. This can happen if you have too high or too low levels of progesterone or estrogen.
What may indicate: fibroids, hormonal imbalance, polyps.
An average menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days and it is likely that the number of days will change with age. But menstruation less than 9 times a year may indicate a problem. There are several causes and treatments for these alterations (4). It does not have to be alarming, but it is advisable to go to your doctor if you have 3 months without having the period. Take care of your body!
Alterations in color (5)
What it can indicate: low levels of estrogen, polycystic ovary syndrome, perimenopause.
If your menstrual flow is lighter than normal, the blood may have a pinkish color, which usually indicates that your estrogen levels are low. This anomaly is usually caused by excessive physical exercise, poor diet or the onset of menopause. Low estrogen levels can affect your health, so talk to your doctor to find the cause.
What it may indicate: nutritional deficiencies, anemia
A whitish and watery menstrual flow may be a symptom of anemia; If your flow is excessive it can cause iron deficit. Make sure you eat well to avoid this disease.
- Dark brown
What it may mean: delayed uterine lining
A darker than normal menstrual flow may simply indicate that you are expelling pieces of uterine lining that had been in your body for a while, and the blood, when oxidized, has darkened. This alteration is not a cause for concern because the rate at which the uterine lining falls off depends on each woman.
- Red (and thick)
What it may indicate: low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels, uterine fibroids
That menstrual blood coagulates is common. But a thick blood menstruation with large clots can indicate that you have severe hormonal imbalances or even uterine fibroids.
- Reddish gray
What it may indicate: sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), abortion
If your menstrual flow is gray and smells bad, you may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
- Intense red
What it can indicate: you’re healthy!
The usual color of the menstrual flow differs slightly from one woman to another but a deep red discharge is a symptom of health.
Paying your health the attention it deserves is the best way to avoid any of these problems. Follow your menstruation to detect changes and correct them!
- Mayo Clinic (2016). Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not . [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Serret Montoya, J., Hernandez Cabezza, A., Mendoza Rojas, O. and Cárdenas Navarrete, R. (2017). Menstrual disorders in adolescents . [online] Scielo.org.mx. Available at: http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?pid=S1665-11462012000100010&script=sci_arttext [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Golfxsconprincipios.com. (2015). Life-size replicas of the uterus, at rest and during menstruation | Golfxs with principles . [online] Available at: http://www.golfxsconprincipios.com/lamoscacojonera/replicas-a-tamano-natural-del-utero-en-reposo-y-durante-la-menstruacion/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Morlans H., X. and Fernandez Z., P. (2006). Menstrual disorders in adolescents: alteration of red flows . [online] Revista.sochimef.org. Available at: http://revista.sochimef.org/index.php/revchimf/article/viewFile/41/41 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Nunez, Alanna. Prevention (2017). 6 Things The Color Of Your Period Blood Says About Your Health . [online] Gynecological Health. Available at: https://www.prevention.com/health/color-of-your-period-blood-and-health [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Kramer, J. (2014). What Your Period Can Tell You About Your Health . [online] Women’s Health. Available at: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/period-health-clues [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].