All About Periods
What is Periods cycle?
Technically, your "monthly" cycle does not necessarily take place once a month.
The average cycle time for women is 28 days, but your cycle may vary anywhere from
20 to 42 days and still be considered normal. If you have a short cycle, it is likely
that you will have a period more often than once a month. If your cycle lasts longer,
you are one of the luckier ones who may experience less interruption each month.
Of course, if your periods are irregular, that irregularity can cause all sorts
of stress and even some fertility concerns if you are trying to become pregnant.
Each month, your reproductive system repeats a regular pattern of events.
Why They Occur ?
Menstruation-your period-is just one part of a larger menstrual cycle. As women
grow older and become reproductively mature, we all develop a menstrual cycle. During
this cycle, your uterus will prepare to house a fertilized egg. If the egg is not
fertilized and you are not pregnant, then the lining is not needed and is shed.
It is this shedding of the uterine lining that is called your period. This cycle
repeats itself month after month until you reach menopause.
The process is an intricate one, controlled by the brain and a complex, hormone-
signaling system. Although menstrual cycles can vary in length, the number of days
between ovulation and your menstrual period is consistent-approximately 14 days
(11-16 is the normal variation). For example, if your typical cycle length is 31
days, then the first half of the cycle is 16 days and ovulation occurs on the 17th
day. But the menstrual period is only one part of the cycle that takes place each
month until you are in your 40s or 50s.
Phases of menstruation
When They Start ?
- On day one of the cycle, your menstrual period begins. Every month, the uterus in
your body builds up a fresh new lining of blood and tissue. The purpose of this
process is to help nourish a developing baby if you are pregnant. When this lining,
called the endometrium, is not needed to nourish a baby, it leaves the uterus, travels
through the cervix and the vagina, and trickles out of the vaginal opening. This
menstrual blood, called the period, may be bright red, light pink, or even brown.
A period usually lasts about three to seven days. The normal amount of menstrual
flow is usually about 1/4 of a cup.
- During this phase, some of the ova, or eggs, in your ovaries are maturing and moving
toward the surface. One of these eggs (or sometimes two) matures each month.
- Ovulation is the name of the event that takes place when one of the ovaries releases
a mature egg. The egg travels out of the ovary, into the nearest fallopian tube
and into your uterus. As the egg moves down the fallopian tube, which takes several
days, the lining of the uterus continues to grow thicker and thicker.
- During this phase, if you become pregnant, the egg moves into your uterus and attaches
to the endometrium. If you are not pregnant, the lining of the uterus is shed through
the vaginal opening. Then, a new menstrual cycle begins.
Most girls have their first menstrual period between the ages of nine and 16. For
the first year or two, periods will probably be irregular; it may not come at the
same time every month. A girl can even have her first period and not have another
one for months. In most cases, periods become regular (about once a month) within
two years of the first period.
Generally, girls can expect a first period about two to three years after the first
signs of breast development. There are several things that can affect the onset
of menstruation. One thing is genetics. The age when your mother had her first period
may be a clue. Your weight may also have an effect-either too thin or too heavy.
Athletic girls also tend to start menstruating later.
In the final stages of puberty, young women reach physical, emotional and sexual
maturity. They grow to their full height, breasts reach their full size, and girls
develop a regular pattern of menstruation.
When To Expect ?
The menstrual experience is different for every woman, so the best advice is to
expect the unexpected when it comes to your period. Over time, you will learn to
know what is "normal" for you. But if you notice changes or symptoms of your period
that seem abnormal to you or are uncomfortable, do not hesitate to consult your
doctor for answers.
Pregnancy / Childbirth
As every mom will tell you, there is nothing quite like finding out you're pregnant.
This long anticipated time, from your first knowledge of pregnancy, through the
first few months of your baby's life, is supposed to be magical-filled with relief,
joy, and, of course, overwhelming love. But for many pregnant women and new mothers,
the word that best describes this time is "overwhelming." Between all the hormonal
changes, sleep deprivation, and the hard work of simply figuring out how to take
care of your baby, many women start to feel like they're in over their heads.
Pregnancy and Your Body
There is no greater wonder than pregnancy. The miracle of the union of the egg and
sperm still eludes scientists in many ways and the changes in a woman's body, both
before and after birth, are astounding. Although nine months may seem like a long
time, it is really quite short when you consider all the changes that occur. Equally
\remarkable is that after a pregnancy and breastfeeding, the mother's body can return
to something close to its pre-pregnancy state.
The cornea, or lining of the eye, thickens during pregnancy and reverts back to
normal by about six weeks postpartum. This change in the cornea is probably the
reason why so many women report an inability to wear contact lenses comfortably
All of the circulating hormones can also result in the appearance of "spider angiomas,"
a raised, red mark on the skin that can have a somewhat spidery look. Many women
will also notice that the palms of their hands have a red glow. Both are more common
in Caucasian women than those with darker skin colors.
Localized darkening of the skin is also quite common, especially the breast nipples,
umbilicus (the belly button), and a line that extends from the umbilicus down to
the pubic hair line (the linea nigra).
Some women also develop an irregular, blotchy hyper-pigmentation on their face in
a "mask-like" pattern. If you have existing nevi (birthmarks), keep in mind that
they may also darken during pregnancy. In most cases, these skin changes will fade
after delivery, although they may never completely disappear.
Today, more than ever, menopause is being accepted as a normal stage of a woman's
life-not a disease. While it's true this change of life is marked by hormonal shifts
that can cause symptoms and leave you more vulnerable to certain diseases, these
symptoms can be controlled and diseases can be prevented.
By definition, menopause is the absence of menstrual periods for six to twelve months
in a row and an elevated follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level. The cessation
of menstruation indicates that there are no remaining follicles left in the ovaries.
This leads to an end of ovarian estrogen production.
Most women associate menopause with the lack of menstruation, as well as the symptoms
that are most prevalent roughly five years before and five years after their last
period. The few years before and after your last period are known as "perimenopause"
Perimenopause is heralded by the onset of irregular periods. The climacteric is
a more encompassing term that defines the transitional time from the reproductive
to the post- reproductive years. During perimenopause, your symptoms may include
hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and mood swings.
The good news is that more options exist than ever before for treating the symptoms
of menopause and preventing the diseases associated with it. They range from behavioral
modifications such as nutrition and exercise to medical treatments.
Indeed, your experience of menopause will be defined by a variety of lifestyle and
genetic factors that are unique to you. Similarly, barring serious medical conditions,
your approach to treatment can also be tailored to your personal choices. In short,
like all changes, menopause presents a challenge-a challenge that can bring greater
rewards when you are informed about it and your options.
Vaginal Discharge & Yeast infections
Is Vaginal discharge normal when I’m not my period?
Even when you don't have your period, it is normal to have a certain amount of discharge
from your vagina. This discharge actually helps keep the vagina clean. The name
for this normal discharge is leukorrhea (lu-ker-EA). Leukorrhea is clear or white
and has no odor. It is normal for your body to produce a small amount (about a teaspoon)
of leukorrhea per day. During the middle of your menstrual cycle (when eggs are
released during ovulation) you may notice that the discharge becomes thinner and
stretchy, like the whites of an egg. Toward the end of your cycle, closer to when
you actually get your period, your discharge may be stickier.
What if my discharge looks or smells funny?
Have your doctor check you out if you think you may be having discharge that is
not normal (abnormal). Abnormal discharge can mean you are sick with an infection
or disease that needs treatment to go away. You may not even realize you are sick.
It is very important to tell an adult and to make an appointment with a doctor if
you notice any of the following:
- Any discharge accompanied by itching, irritation, unpleasant odor, or burning with
- An increase in discharge that isn't normal for you
- Thick, white discharge
- Thin, gray discharge
- Mucus and pus mixed in with discharge
- Frothy yellow-green discharge
- Cottage cheese-like discharge
Teen Health - Girls
Awareness of hormonal changes in the teen years is an important part of maturing.
Luckily, women teach and learn by talking to each other. What a great gift this
is! Helping, sharing and supporting each other on a daily basis is a part of who
we are. With so much focus on what’s wrong with our bodies (via the media), this
has created a hyper-sensitivity in young girls’ body images that is not healthy.
When speaking to our youth about the changes in their bodies, we need to let them
know that what they are experiencing is completely normal. During these early years,
it is important for them to feel like they are like EVERYONE ELSE not different
in any way. Learning how to understand and read the changes in their bodies is very
important. Understanding what is normal for all and what is normal for the individual
can vary greatly.
- It is not uncommon to have irregular periods (due to nutrient deficiency, dieting,
over-exercising or athletics, genetics, lifestyle etc.)
- Periods may not ALWAYS on a 28 day cycle, as ovaries develop at different rates.
- You may or may not have the following symptoms Food cravings, acne, bloating mood
And a word on a topic that can be confusing - birth control pills. Physicians often
prescribe it for amenorrhea or for PMS-related symptoms. Girls already on birth
control pills may have already discovered that the pill can exacerbate symptoms
The Stages of female development are as follows
- Stage 1 (Ages 8-11) Your brain is releasing hormones that are necessary to create
characteristics of a woman’s body. The main functions are maturing ovaries that
will later create a menstrual flow and childbearing function.
- Stage 2 (Ages 8-14) Physical changes are taking place, including breast development,
pubic hair, and height and weight gain.
- Stage 3 (Ages 9-15) Outward changes are continuing. Developing breasts, pubic hair
and increasing height continue. Hormonal levels are fluctuating and vaginal discharge
is common. Hormonal fluctuation is attributed with onset of the menstrual cycle.
If PMS symptoms occur, they usually can be controlled with diet and exercise.
- Stage 4 (10-16) A more mature-appearing body emerges; with areola development, increased
pubic and underarm hair. The ovaries grow and may begin producing eggs. Some girls
will experience their first menstrual cycle.
- Stage 5 (12-19) If you have not experienced, your first menstrual cycle, it should
begin during this stage. Annual physical exams are recommended for monitoring overall
health and the maturation process.
Like other stages in life, puberty is challenging. Keep an open line of communication
between you and your child, as hard as that may sometimes be! Use your local resources
and organizations like ours to further your child’s health education and as always,
a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and nutritional supplements.
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland in the front of the neck. It consists of
two lobes on each side of the Adam’s apple, which are joined across the front of
the windpipe, just below the voice box.
The thyroid gland secretes two main hormones, thyroxin and triiodothyonine, into
the bloodstream. These hormones stimulate all the cells in the body. The thyroid
gland also secretes calcitonin that reduces the concentration of calcium in the
The production of thyroid hormones is controlled by the thyroid-stimulating hormone
(TSH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland. This control is modified by the
hypothalamus that detects thyroid hormone levels in the blood and influences the
secretion of TSH. (The TSH test involves measuring the concentration of (TSH) in
the blood serum).
What disorders affect thyroid gland?
- Hypothyroidism is a condition that results from an inadequate supply of hormones
from the thyroid gland. Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain and sensitivity to
- Hyperthyroidism is also known as thyrotoxicosis, which symptoms include an over
activity of the thyroid gland and excessive production of thyroid hormones.
- Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland.
- Hashimoto’s disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has been characterized as a form
of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis.
- Graves’s disease is another goitrous condition usually accompanied by hyperthyroidism.
If the above sounds similar to you, please contact your health care professional
in your area
Living healthy by staying in shape is one very important thing you can do to help
yourself have a happier, healthier life. Staying active is key to boosting your
confidence and helping you to look great too. There are a lot of little things you
can do throughout the course of your day to stay in shape that don't take much time
or require a total lifestyle change either. Small changes can help you get more
energy throughout your day, even out your moods and make you feel as great as you'll
Sometimes your period can leave you feeling a little stressed out, both mentally
and physically. Yoga is just the thing to calm you mentally while sorting out some
of your physical blahs. When you're on your period, you shouldn't have to sacrifice
your style for comfort or because you've got that bloated feeling. It's easy to
keep your look and feel comfortable during your period.