ANSWERS TO YOUR TOP MENSTRUATION AND PERIOD QUESTIONS
Yes, PMS is not a myth! Eight out of ten women do experience some discomfort shortly before their monthly period sets in. These symptoms are caused by the hormonal changes of the cycle and for many women they are so severe that they impact on their daily lives – both in personal and working aspects. However, cycle-related symptoms are still subject to skepticism – men in particular take it as a bad excuse for women to be short-tempered and to graze uncontrollably. What you should know:
Most common premenstrual symptoms are divided into two groups:
Affective: depressive mood, angry outbursts, irritability, anxiety, confusion, social withdrawal
Somatic: breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headache, swelling of extremities
Medical researchers are still working on identifying the exact cause of these symptoms but it is certain that they are linked to the hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Some combined contraceptive pills are proven to reduce these symptoms. Please talk to your health care provider in case you are heavily suffering from these symptoms.
Abdominal cramps, headaches and back pain, breast tenderness, mood swings or nausea, for many women make periods a regular misery. But you should certainly not suffer severe discomfort in silence. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider so they can investigate possible causes and ask about ways you can alleviate pain relating to your menstrual cycle. Some hormonal methods of contraception such as the pill or the hormonal IUS can make periods lighter and therefore more bearable, for example, by slowing down or preventing the growth of the uterine lining. This usually also means: less pain and fewer limitations, e.g. in terms of holidays, exercising and sex.
There is a stubborn myth that your monthly period is a form of body "cleansing" that washes germs or dead cells out of your uterus. But the truth is: bleeding every month is of no benefit from a medical viewpoint. It does not therefore do any harm if your period is shorter or lighter as a result of hormonal contraception.
From a historical perspective, women have never had as many periods as they do now: up to 450 in a lifetime! In the past, by contrast, there were many more times when women did not have periods because of more frequent pregnancies with extensive periods of breastfeeding. This resulted in only about 150 menstruations during your Grandma’s lifespan.
You are not alone! Cycle-related symptoms are experienced by about eight out of ten women at some stage during their fertile lives. If you complain about disturbances such as excessive cravings, you may experience symptoms that differ from those your sister or your best friend is suffering from. Even if your symptoms are identical to someone else‘s, you may feel them more or less intensely. If you suffer from any of these symptoms on a regular basis, always a few days before your period sets in, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
Not using contraception during your period is a dangerous game, because it is actually possible for fertilization to occur during this phase of your menstrual cycle! The length of the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman between 21 and 35 days. Ovulation almost always occurs around two weeks before your period, i.e. between day 7 and 21 of your cycle. Because the life span of sperm is unpredictable, unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy from the first day of your period.
Another thing is some women misinterpret breakthrough bleeding as a period and think they are "safe". So if you don't wish to become pregnant, you should always use contraception without interruptions.
There are several reasons why your period might be late.
First of all: you might be pregnant. If you think this could be the case, you can take a home pregnancy test or see your doctor to check.
However, several other factors can cause late or even missed periods, for example medication, stress, diet or exercise.
In particular, young women, whose cycles are not yet so well established, often have hormonal fluctuations that can cause late or even missed periods.
During monthly bleeding the chances of pregnancy are low but not zero. Bleeding itself does not prevent pregnancy, and it does not promote pregnancy, either. In the first several days of monthly bleeding, the chances of pregnancy are lowest. As the days pass, the chances of pregnancy increase, whether or not she is still bleeding. The risk of pregnancy rises until ovulation. The day after ovulation the chances of pregnancy begin to drop steadily. Some fertility awareness methods that depend on cervical secretions advise avoiding unprotected sex during monthly bleeding because cervical secretions cannot be detected during bleeding and there is a small risk of ovulation at this time.