A menstrual cycle reveals a lot about a woman's health. Her menstrual cycle is considered to be an important sign in order to know about her well-being. So, it is very important for women to keep a check on their cycles and track them regularly. Let's know about the difference between a healthy menstrual cycle and an unhealthy menstrual cycle and the reasons behind them being unhealthy.
A Normal "Healthy" Menstrual Cycle
A woman experiences a menstrual period when her uterus contracts to help expel its lining. However, periods may vary from woman to woman. A healthy menstrual cycle refers to the one that occurs regularly after every 22-34 days. A woman can experience flow of blood for about 2-8 days, moderate in amount.
Most of the women experiences pain during their periods. Hormones called Prostaglandins causes these pains. Usually if a woman experience pain during the first two days, then it is considered as normal. Some girls experience mid cycle ovulatory pain in the abdomen for a day or two, occasionally associated with little spotting in the middle of the month.
All the above-mentioned features are a mark of a good ovulatory menstrual cycle with good fertility.
Unhealthy Menstrual Cycles
These are some of the features of menstrual cycles that are considered unhealthy:
1. Short cycles i.e. less than 21 days
If the cycles are repeating after a period of less than 21 days, then the menstrual cycle is considered unhealthy. In this case, chances of diminished ovarian reserves are to be ruled out.
If the cycles are irregular to the tune of every now and then, like they are repeating after every 10-15 days of interval, then there are chances of uterine polyp or abnormal uterine wall thickening or uterine infection.ADVERTISEMENT
If cycles are occurring after intercourse, then we should check the mouth of uterus, also called cervix. It can be infection of cervix or cervical erosion or early changes in cervical histopathology. In these cases, examination and pap smear test will be required.
2. Prolonged cycles i.e. more than 35 days
Some cycles occur after more than 35 days, sometimes 45 to 60 days. Such long intervals are, most of the times, caused due to Hormonal Imbalance. Following are some of the reasons behind the prolonged cycles:
Adolescent pubertal irregularities
High levels of prolactin
Other hormonal pathology related to adrenal gland or ovarian tumour
3. Flow less than 2 days or more than 8 days
Flow for less than 2 days is considered unhealthy. It can be either due to decreased hormones or due to uterine infection.
4. Excessive flow leading to anaemia
Excessive flow is also considered unhealthy. Following are the reasons for excessive flow:
Excessive flow often leads to anaemia. So, it is advised to consult a gynaecologist for the same at the earliest.
About the author: Dr. Aruna Kalra is the director of gynaecologist & obstetrician department at CK Birla Hospital. Dr. Aruna brings 22 years of experience in her field of practice. Her expertise lies in minimally invasive gynaecological surgeries, high-risk pregnancies, vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) and Scarless Laproscopic Surgery.
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