A handful of species on earth share a seemingly mysterious trait known as Mensuration aka periods. Women are the selected few. Some like to call it menses, chums, monthlies, time of the month, and even flowers.
The red stain on your underwear that horrifies you for the first time you see it, and then puts you in a dilemma on how to break it to your family and friends that you have finally got ‘it’, creates a lot of questions in our head, to which, some often seek answers to, and some just accept it as a gift from nature.
If I were to define periods in simple words, I would say, ‘the release of blood from women uterus through her vagina, repeating itself each month once they hit puberty is called periods’. Among all the things that puberty brings you, like the growth of hair under your armpits, and between your legs. Preparing and growing your body so one day you can conceive a child (if you wish to), periods is one of them.
But is that all we should know about periods?
Let’s start with the very basic question that troubled us from the beginning we find out about this existing phenomenon called periods.
WHAT ARE PERIODS EXACTLY?
Periods mark the beginning of women’s reproductive years.
The female reproductive system is made of a Vagina, a Uterus (also known as the womb), the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. The ovaries consist of thousands of tiny eggs but only one egg gets to travel each month through the fallopian tubes into the uterus.
Once the egg reaches the uterus, the inner side of the uterus becomes thicker. In cases when women don’t have sex, the egg is no longer needed and the inner side of the uterus thinners, break down and this will flow out of the vagina as blood is known as PERIOD.
If the women have sex, the egg gets fertilized which means the uterus will need the thick lining and it won’t break leading to pregnancy. The reason why women don’t bleed during pregnancy.
WHAT CAUSES PERIODS?
Hormones are the chemical messenger of the body and the changes in Hormones lead to periods.
Estrogen and Progesterone are two hormones released by the ovaries and cause the lining of the uterus to build up. Once the lining is built-up, the uterus is finally ready to let the egg get attached to it and that’s when we finally get our first periods.
WHEN DO PERIODS START?
Mostly, girls get their periods when they are about 11 to 13 years old but it can be anywhere from 8 years to 16 years old. Everyone has their body differently functioning for them. So, the next time you hear someone say that “she’s 12 and hasn’t gotten it yet” educate them because there is nothing like the right age to get your periods.
Although, our body keeps giving us alarms before we get our first periods, such as:
- Your start developing your breasts. They tend to become tender and/or larger.
- You might start getting a lot of spots or acne on your face.
- The most common is Vaginal Discharge, mucus-like substance that you notice or feel on your underwear. It begins about 6 months to 1 year before your periods
Once you finally hit your periods, you will start going through a menstrual cycle.
WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CYCLE?
The time between the first day of the period to the day you start your next periods is known is the menstrual cycle. People call this cycle ‘monthlies’ or it’s usually about 28 days. Many people have a longer or shorter cycle which is normal. You don’t worry if you don’t have the same cycle as your friend because we all go through different period experiences.
Our period of bleeding can last up to 3 to 7 days. We feel that our body releases a lot of blood during this time but it’s usually between 3-5 tablespoons.
During this time a lot of women go through period pain, known as cramps.
During the first days of your periods, women often experience pain in their stomachs, especially lower abdomen which can often lead to your back or thighs. It happens because the walls in your uterus tighten.
Cramps are the reason that women hate to be on their periods as it makes difficult for them to function or get out of their bed. But there are ways to overcome it.
- Hot water bag on your stomach
- Relaxing on your couch, probably watching your favourite tv show
- Exercising like Yoga or Pilates
- Light circular massage around the abdomen
- Warm hot steaming shower, not only fixes the pain but makes you feel fresher
- Wearing comfortable loose clothes help
- Pain relief pills (when you’ve tried all the above)
You can consult a doctor if the pain is severe and you experience any sort of further discomfort.
Regular exercise can lead to a pain-free period and bring the happy hormones out of you. So the next time you are on your bed crying about ‘why are you a woman’ or ‘why do you need to go through this’, just remember to start exercising.
However, one of the major experiences that a lot of women go through is called PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
WHAT IS PMS?
We all are aware of this 3 letter word thrown to us, asking us if we are ‘PMSing’
When unaware, women often confuse PMSing to some illness as it makes you go through physical and psychological symptoms. Well, it’s nothing but your body alarming you to prep for the time of the month.
Physical Symptoms include:
- Change in appetite, leading to food cravings
- Bloating or Constipation
- Menstrual Cramps
- Acne/Pimple or other skin symptoms
Psychological Symptoms include:
- Mood Swings
We can overcome all of these issues by maintaining a healthy diet and following a balanced routine.
DIETARY HABITS TO TAKE CARE OF DURING PERIODS
The right diet is the solution to all the kinds of problems you face with your body and periods are one of them. We often face challenges in maintaining a healthy diet but what if I tell you that dark chocolates are part of the diet?!
Hell YES, after all not everything about periods is painful and leading to mood. swings
We should incorporate:
- Dark chocolate
- Citrus food
- And, Water
These affordable, convenient, easily available food items will keep your mood swings and cramps away. It gives you the balanced nutrient that your body needs when going through the most difficult time of the month.
So after understanding everything we needed to, we all are probably wondering if periods ever end?
WHEN DO PERIODS FINALLY END?
When we finally stop Menstruating, we call it the ‘Menopause’.
It usually occurs between the age of 45 to 50. Your ovaries finally stop producing eggs and after a series of irregular periods for a month, when you don’t get your periods for 12 consecutive months, you hit your menopause. It’s a natural process of women’s life cycle just like everything else.
Periods can be difficult and you may go through a lot of dealing in the beginning but always remember when you hit your low, that periods are the sign that your body is working.
Periods are flowers, helping you heal and rediscover your unique identity.