The average woman starts menstruating at the age of 13 and stops at the age of 51 with an average menstruation of 3-7 days per month. This means that the average woman has 456 periods over the span of 38 years; that’s roughly 2,280 days or 6.25 years of the average woman's life.
Now, think about how much money you spend on your survival pack you require for each menstruation—all the pads, tampons, food, pain pills, heating pads, panties, and so on. It’s crazy how expensive periods can be! I’m not going to lie: this is the one time I hope to be average. Read on to learn all about your menstruation, you may think you know it all, but you’ll probably learn a thing or two.
Period basics 101
The menstrual cycle is longer than just the portion you bleed and feel pain for. Your ovaries release the egg (ovulation) for which your uterus then builds a soft, spongy lining in case the egg gets fertilized (pregnant); if it isn’t fertilized, you get your period since you shed the lining. This is what causes the bleeding that we’re all familiar with. The cycle repeats each month. Fun, right? Not really because a lot of women have discomfort and pain during their menstruation.
It’s also important to remember that every woman's menstruation is different and unique, periods vary in duration, consistency of timing, how heavy/light the flow is, and the symptoms and pain you feel. Not only are periods unique for every person, but your period can also be completely different month to month. It all depends on your life (i.e stress, what you do every day and your diet), hormones and body.
Aside from the bleeding, common symptoms are moodiness, bloating, pain in your stomach or back, tender breasts, fatigue, bad sleep, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, weird food cravings and appetites, sweats and chills, being dizzy and more.
For many women, their period pain is mild, but for many women, their period pain is extremely severe. The pain can be sharp in a specific spot or more subdued but spreads to various spots. There are also two types of menstrual cramps.
Primary Dysmenorrhea is a common type of menstrual cramps that is caused by getting your period; it isn’t a disease, illness or condition. This type of menstrual cramp can cause mild to severe pain in your stomach, back and thighs a few days before your menstruation and lasts for roughly 12-72 hours. Primary Dysmenorrhea is common in younger women and often becomes less severe with age and after childbirth.
Secondary Dysmenorrhea is the second type of menstrual cramps and is the most severe and painful. This tends to be caused by a disorder in the reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, fibroids, cysts or infections. If you think you have this, it’s important to go to a doctor and talk about options to ease the pain. Even an IUD can cause this type of menstrual cramp. The excruciating pain will start long before your menstruation and it will last much longer compared to Primary Dysmenorrhea.
Cause of pain
Scientists believe the cramps come from the shedding of the uterine lining because a substance called Prostaglandins is created during your period, which causes your uterus to contract. This then results in cramps as your menstruation goes on the prostaglandins becomes more diluted and decreases along with your cramps.
How to conquer the pain
It is vital to go to your doctor if you have severe pain or think something is wrong. You may also want to make an appointment if you have excruciating periods to see if you have fibroids, cysts or anything else. They may also prescribe medication or even birth control to help regulate and ease the pain.
When it comes to medication, you may also want to look into taking Advil instead of Midol because Midol isn’t as strong and effective as Advil although the products are similar in the composite. You may also want to take vitamin supplements such as vitamin B1 or Magnesium to help reduce cramps and bloating.
Heat can also go a long way when it comes to reducing menstruation cramps, so a hot bath, tea or using a heating pad is a great idea as it will help you to relax as will rubbing your lower stomach in a counterclockwise direction, which will help to relax the muscles.
Exercise and stretching are also a good idea to ease the pain as it will loosen up the muscles. The issue is when you are in so much pain that it can also cause more pain to exercise or stretch,so you need to know your limits and be careful.
When it comes to periods, they can either be a breeze or very painful. Some women love mother nature’s gift while others hate it. It all depends on your menstruation and what it’s like—just remember the tips on how to ease the pain and what your menstruation can be like and how it can change. If there is a drastic change, you may want to see a doctor. Feel free to share your thoughts below!