Heavy, Irregular or Painful Periods: What you should know?

Although women experience monthly vaginal bleeding, hardly they know about the process that the body undergoes. Menstrual bleeding is a sign of good sexual health during the reproductive years in the women. Here you can read about menstruation, normal and abnormal periods, and when you should be alert.

What is menstruation?

The shedding of lining of the uterus is known as menstruation. The lining of the uterus is called as endometrium. Therefore menstruation is the shedding of the endometrium. The lining tissues shed, flow through the cervix, and come out through the vagina every month. It is other ways called as menses or periods.

What is menstrual cycle?

Menstrual cycle is defined as a set of changes that the female body undergoes as part of the reproductive process. The cycle is calculated from the first day of your periods to the first day of your next period. It will be around 28 days on a normal scale.

Every month one of the ovaries will release a matured egg, which is called as ovulation. The uterus wall gets thickened to prepare for the fertilised egg. When the egg is not fertilised, the uterus lining is shed as menstrual bleeding through the vagina. Hormones namely oestrogen and progesterone are responsible in maintaining the menstrual cycle.

Normal periods

The time, duration, and intensity of periods are different in each woman. A normal period lasts from 3-5 days, although the first two days will have heavy bleeding.  When it occurs somewhere between 21-35 days, it is considered to be normal. The blood flow may last up to 2-7 days.

Irregular periods

Irregular periods occur when there is variation in time between each period, difference in quantity of blood loss, number of days of bleeding etc. Consider the following signs to know if your periods are abnormal:

  • Prolonged bleeding which is more than 7 days
  • Absence of periods for more than 3 months
  • Intense pain or abdominal cramping during periods
  • Heavy bleeding in which you change sanitary pads once in two hours
  • When periods do not happen between 21-35 days
  • Suddenly the periods become irregular after being normal

Causes for irregular periods

There are several factors that cause heavy, irregular or painful periods ranging from hormonal imbalance to cancer in the reproductive organs.  It includes:

  • Presence of uterine fibroids
  • Diseases like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Infections in the uterus
  • Cancer in the reproductive organs
  • Medications for birth control
  • Emotional stress

Girls, during their initial years of menstruation, and woman, while approaching menopause, commonly experience irregular periods.

Treatment for irregular periods

If you have irregular periods, it is recommended to consult a gynaecologist in order to figure out the underlying reason. The cause of the heavy bleeding should be treated in order to avoid further risks.

Treatment for painful periods include intake of pain killers or contraceptive pills, relaxation techniques, hot water bath etc. Weight loss, life style changes etc also help in alleviating discomforts related to menstruation.