How many of you remember about when and for how long your last menstrual period lasted? Do you? Well, if not, you should stay alert from now on since it is important to know about what is happening with your body. When you track your menstrual cycles, you can get to know about ovulation and identify important changes.
What is the Menstrual Cycle?
Each month, a woman goes through a series of hormone-driven changes in her body which helps her prepare for pregnancy. It happens with the start of puberty and ends with menopause and is known as the menstrual cycle. During each cycle, the uterus lining builds up and the egg is released from ovaries after development. If pregnancy does not happen, the uterus wall sheds during menstruation.
What are Different Stages of Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle is categorized into four stages in sequential order of occurring: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal stage. The menstrual and follicular phase overlaps in the beginning but the follicular phase ends when you ovulate. The average follicular stage lasts for around 16 days. The ovulation phase starts around the 14th day (considering you have a 28-day cycle). Once the follicle releases the egg, it changes into corpus luteum and releases progesterone and estrogen and thus becomes the luteal phase, lasting for 11-17 days.
What is normal?
The menstrual cycle time duration is different for every woman. The menstrual flow can occur every 21-35 days and the time period varies from 2-7 days. For the first few years of menstruation, the cycles are usually longer which reduces and become more normal as one age. Menstrual cycles can be regular or irregular, with heavy bleeding or light bleeding, or painful or painless and all the more still considered normal. The use of contraception of certain types can change your menstrual cycle. Also, at the time of menopause approaches, you will again witness irregularity in your cycle. You should be especially careful around your menopause since irregularity at this time may even indicate the risk of uterine cancer.
How can I know what is normal and what is not?
To find out what is normal in your menstrual cycle, the best practice is to maintain a journal to record your menstrual cycle. You can track the start date and pinpoint any irregularity after tracking for many months. You can also make note of the end date as to how long the period lasted than usual, the heaviness of your menstrual flow, any abnormal bleeding that occurs in between, pain associated with your menstruation and its intensity, or any other changes in mood or behaviour.
Should you worry? Every woman’s menstrual cycle and the traits associated with it are different. What is normal for you might not be the case for others. So, it is important that you familiarize yourself with your cycle. Stay alert and report any changes to a doctor.