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World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2024: Know what is normal and what is not about menstrual cycle

Understanding what’s normal and what’s not in your menstrual cycle is key to maintaining good reproductive health. Early diagnosis and treatment of menstrual problems can prevent complications and improve quality of life and overall well-being.

Written By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Updated on: May 28, 2024 16:15 IST
World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2024
Image Source : FREEPIK Know what is normal and what is not about the menstrual cycle.

World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on May 28 every year and aims to break the silence and stigma surrounding menstruation and promote safe and healthy menstrual hygiene practices for all. The day also serves as a platform to advocate for policy changes that prioritise menstrual health and break the taboo around periods. Through awareness campaigns, events, and social media initiatives, World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2024 will strive to create a world where menstruation is seen as a natural and positive aspect of women's lives, rather than something to be ashamed of or hidden. However, in this article, we have discussed what is normal and what is not about the menstrual cycle.

According to Dr Astha Dayal, Lead Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, the period cycle or menstruation is a vital aspect of reproductive health for women. 

Know what's normal and what's not about menstrual cycle

Girls generally start their periods from the age of 10 years to 15 years and this is called menarche. If periods begin at 9 years of age or there are no periods till the age of 16, one must check with your gynaecologist. Usually, periods are irregular in the first two years of menarche and no treatment as such is needed unless they are too heavy, frequent or painful. The cycles usually become regular in 2 years.

A typical menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days, with menstrual flow lasting from 2 to 7 days. It's good to understand the normal menstrual cycle. The cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and ends the day before the next period starts. The cycle has phases driven by hormonal changes. The Menstrual Phase is when the period happens. The Follicular Phase is in the first 10 days when oestrogen hormone dominates, and ovarian follicles mature. Ovulation, or egg release happens mid-cycle, usually around day 14 in a 28-day cycle. Then is the Luteal Phase where progesterone hormone prepares the uterus for potential pregnancy.

Normal variations of the cycle can include cycle length, flow volume, and minor discomforts like mild cramps or mood swings.

The cycle could come every 21-38 days, but if there are more frequent changes in cycle length or missed periods, then it's best to check with the doctor and evaluate for any hormonal imbalance, thyroid disorder, PCOD, or ovarian cysts.

The period flow could last from 2 days to 7 days. But if there is heavy bleeding (Menorrhagia) causing excessive blood loss (> 80ml), that soaks through sanitary products every hour for several consecutive hours or with blood clots and causing anaemia, then one must seek medical help.

Sometimes periods could cause severe pain (Dysmenorrhea) which causes debilitating cramps that interfere with daily activities. This should be evaluated to rule out endometriosis, PID( pelvic infections), fibroids or cysts.

Unexpected spotting or bleeding between periods or after intercourse could be due to polyps, cervical problems, or PCOD and should be checked.

Besides this, missing periods for three or more consecutive cycles or Amenorrhea also needs to be checked- It could be due to pregnancy, Thyroid, or Prolactin imbalance, PCOD or Perimenopause.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)) is a common condition with physical and psychological symptoms like breast pain, bloating, swelling and weight gain, headaches, mood swings, irritability, tiredness before menstruation and getting better after periods. A severe form of this called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) could cause feelings of aggression or anger, low mood, anxiety, loss of confidence, or depression and one should seek help for this.

ALSO READ: World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2024: What are some common risk factors associated with poor menstrual hygiene?


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