Many women go through life wondering whether their period symptoms are normal. Surely nature didn’t invent this crazy emotional and often painful monthly rollercoaster, did it?
Well, it turns out that it did. While there are certain things that you can do to blunt the wild gyrations in mood and pain levels you experience during your menstrual cycle (such as eating right), the symptoms of menstrual cycle including the wild swings are actually built into your biology.
Let’s explain. New cycles start after menstruation. The first is what medical professionals and scientists call the follicular phase. Compared to other parts of the month, the symptoms of follicular phase are generally much calmer. Women in this phase often report having more energy and feeling better able to take on the challenges of life.
The next stage is ovulation. This is characterised by higher sex drive and confidence. Why? Because this is the time of the month when you are most likely to get pregnant. You need to be “out there,” so to speak, making yourself available.
After ovulation, things start to change. You enter the so-called “luteal phase,” characterized by higher levels of progesterone. In this part of the process, you can feel tired and your skin might not look as good as it did earlier in the month.
The final stage of the process is the menstrual phase. This is characterized by period pain, low mood and general fatigue. Darn female health!
Still confused? Don’t worry. Below we’ve provided you with a helpful infographic that shows you exactly what’s going on in terms of symptoms and hormone levels. And below this we share some of the symptoms of each stage of the menstural cycle so you know what to expect.
Infographic design by Yoppie
Signs of Menstruation. Are Your Period Symptoms Normal?
Menstruation is a natural and normal process that affects every woman at some point in her life. While it's an important part of reproductive health, it can also be a source of discomfort and inconvenience for many women. In this article, we'll discuss the signs of menstruation and whether your period symptoms are normal.
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
Before we dive into the symptoms of menstruation, it's important to understand the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is a series of changes that occur in a woman's body each month to prepare for pregnancy. It's divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and lasts until ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary). During this phase, the body produces hormones (estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone) that stimulate the ovaries to produce an egg.
The luteal phase begins after ovulation and lasts until the start of your next period. During this phase, the body produces hormones (progesterone and luteinizing hormone) that help prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy.
Symptoms of the Menstrual Cycle Phases
Now that we understand the menstrual cycle phases, let's take a look at some common symptoms associated with each phase:
Follicular Phase Symptoms:
- Light menstrual flow
- Mild cramping
- Breast tenderness
- Increased sex drive
- Mood swings
Luteal Phase Symptoms:
- Heavier menstrual flow
It's important to note that everyone's menstrual cycle is different, and symptoms can vary widely. Some women may experience very few symptoms, while others may experience more severe symptoms.
Common Menstruation Symptoms
In addition to the symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle phases, there are also common symptoms that many women experience during their period. These include:
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Food cravings
Factors That Affect Menstruation Cycle Symptoms
There are several factors that can affect the severity of menstruation symptoms, including:
- Age: Younger women may experience more severe symptoms than older women.
- Stress: High levels of stress can exacerbate symptoms.
- Underlying health conditions: Conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause more severe symptoms.
- Lifestyle factors: A healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce symptoms.
Managing Menstruation Symptoms
While some discomfort during your period is normal, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help relieve cramps and headaches.
- Heating pads or hot water bottles can help alleviate cramps and abdominal pain.
- Exercise can help reduce bloating and improve mood.
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce symptoms.
What Is a Normal Period Cycle?
A normal period cycle is typically between 21 and 35 days long, with the average being 28 days. The amount of bleeding can also vary, but the average is 3-5 days.
Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can help you identify any irregularities and better understand your body. There are several apps and tools available to help you track your cycle, or you can simply mark the start and end dates on a calendar.
Recognizing Irregularities in Your Menstrual Cycle
If you notice significant changes in your menstrual cycle or symptoms, it's important to seek medical advice. Some signs that may indicate a problem include:
- Missing periods or having irregular periods
- Very heavy or prolonged periods
- Severe cramping or pain
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Spotting between periods
- Symptoms that interfere with your daily life
Hopefully this article has helped you understand more about your own menstrual cycle phases and symptoms. Menstruation is a normal and natural process that affects every woman differently. While some discomfort during your period is normal, it's important to understand your own body and seek medical advice if you notice significant changes or symptoms. By keeping track of your menstrual cycle and managing your symptoms, you can take control of your reproductive health and feel more comfortable during your period.