By now you’re used to getting a visit by Aunt Flo every month and are probably handling it awesomely. And that’s no easy feat, since a period brings a lot of its friends, like menstrual cramps, mood swings, overeating, bloating… Fun times. Not.
Since periods are natural cycle and part of the female body functioning properly, they can say a lot about our health, too. And these signs must never be ignored.
No two women have the exact same kind of period. Some have heavy flows but no pain, some endure a lot of pain to the point of having to go to the emergency room, and others don’t even notice that time of the month. What you need to know is a missed period is not always an indication of pregnancy. It could also be a symptom or signal of some major abnormality in your body. Thus, it is very important to keep track of hormonal changes in your body and pay attention to the way you are bleeding.
There are several important questions you need to ask yourself to know if your period is normal or not.
How many pads or tampons do you typically use every day?
When you change your pads, are they totally soaked or just a bit?
How many days does your period last?
Do you get it regularly?
How is the flow – is it too heavy or normal?
You can even keep a diary for this. So, let’s see what your answers mean:
1. The Menstrual Pain
Periods can be painful. According to a survey, almost 70% of women suffer from abdominal (uterine) pain, cramps, and bloating during their menses. The bad thing about it is that most women think it’s normal to have excruciating pain, while it isn’t. We feel the pain because every month our uterine muscles contract and release to push the blood out, and this contraction causes pain. You need to visit your gynecologist if the pain is insufferable. This might indicate endometriosis, vaginal scarring or fibroids.
2. Heavy Flow
Periods are usually heavy in the first few days and eventually tapper off, the flow varies from woman to woman. Here’s how to know:
Changing your tampon every 2-3 hours means you have a heavy flow. It’s considered ‘abnormally heavy’ if you change your pad every hour and the severity of the flow continues for 7-8 days. This happens either due to shortage or excessive amounts of the menstruation regulating hormones – estrogen and progesterone. If you’re using 2-3 sanitary napkins a day, your flow is normal.
A heavy flow could be a symptom of infection, hemophilia, blood thinners, hormonal imbalance, fibroids or even a brain tumor. If you notice a change in your menstrual flow, immediately consult your doctor.