Menstruation is a natural part of a woman’s reproductive years.
Medical Advisor Nazly Prestan Doria – Obstetrician and Gynecologist
As the world we live in undergoes many transformations, so do the mental associations we have with them. With menstruation, this is no different. New generations break down taboos and, with more knowledge and less mystery, there are no longer myths that relate menstruation to disease, a reduced sex drive, being possessed by a spirit or even with a state of impurity. Menstruation is now understood for what it is: a natural process in a woman’s body that repeats each month. As the gynecologist Nazly Prestan Doria states, “A normal menstrual cycle is the period of time starting the first day a woman menstruates to the day before her next cycle begins.”
This physiological process is divided into four phases: The follicular phase (also referred to as the as proliferative phase) is when estrogen is produced; the ovulation phase; the luteous phase (also referred to as the secretory phase) is when progesterone is produced and is when the bleeding occurs. This cycle can last from 25 to 35 days in adult women and from 21 to 45 days in adolescents. “Bleeding should last between three and seven days and ends spontaneously,” says Prestan Doria.
The most common symptoms of a menstrual cycle include mood swings and abdominal pain; however, not all women experience these symptoms.
As our specialist explains, cramping is caused by the amount of prostaglandins that are released, which allows the endometrium to detach. So while some women may experience mild discomfort, others may be unable to function or may even faint from the pain. Headaches, swollen breasts, pain in the hips or lower back conditions are other signs that menstruation is in progress. Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting or dizziness may also occur.
A balanced diet that includes fiber, fruits, vegetables and vitamins helps provide relief from the symptoms. It is also important to avoid caffeine, too much salt or sugar, practice healthy habits such as doing exercise, and not to smoke. Depending on the woman’s age, it is also helpful to take supplements such as calcium, magnesium, fatty acids, vitamin B1, and anti-inflammatories or painkillers as preventive measures. Talk with your doctor to decide what treatment is right for what the patient needs. This can help prevent the menstrual cycle from affecting the quality of women’s lives.
Different methods that can be used in the collection of a menstrual flow such as the menstrual cup, which was created in the U.S. in 1932. The menstrual cup is made from rubber and is inserted into the vagina to collect blood. It can last as long as a sanitary napkin or tampon and does not contain substances that are toxic to the body. Its use has been tested and is hygienic as it prevents menstrual blood from coming into contact with the genitals. The use of sanitary napkins depends on the preferences of each woman.
Keep in mind
An average menstrual flow is between 5 and 80 milliliters a day (the equivalent of using 3 to 6 sanitary napkins). If this flow lasts for more than seven days or is very heavy, this is not normal. Some women may have a longer flow, which may be related to the use of contraceptive devices, being overweight or conditions such as endometriosis, polyps or fibroids.