July 22, 2022

Menstruation – Regular and Irregular Cycles

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A woman’s menstrual cycle can say a great detail about their health. Understanding how to track your menstrual cycle and spot irregularities can be useful information to take on your next visit to your primary care provider of OB-GYN.

On average, a menstrual cycle happens every 28 days, but this varies from woman to woman. Understanding when your last menstrual period began or how long it lasted is important, be sure to make a note of those dates. There are lots of tools available today to track your period like a phone app or a basic calendar you access regularly to mark the dates.

Period Tracking Apps: Clue | Flo | Spot On

So what exactly is a menstrual cycle?

A menstrual cycle or period is a monthly series of changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for the possibility of a pregnancy. Every month, one of the ovaries releases an egg in a process called ovulation. A woman may experience hormonal changes that will prepare the uterus for pregnancy. When ovulation takes place and the egg is not fertilized the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina this is called a period (CDC).

What is considered a normal menstrual cycle?

To determine what is considered a normal period cycle there are a few things that you need to be mindful about every month:

  • Cycle and date –  Basically know how long does your cycle usually last? Is it long? Is it short?
  • Flow – What does the flow look like, does it look heavy or light? Does it tend to chang through the cycle or different months? Also do you see any major blood clots? 
  • Is there any pain? Do you experience cramps throughout the entire cycle, or is it mostly in the early days?
  • Do you experience abnormal bleeding? So, do you see any spotting in between periods? 
  • What other changes do you experience during your cycle? Do you experience a change in mood, or irritability? Any changes in your sleep?

Irregular cycles and what causes them?

There are many reasons why a woman can experience irregularities in their menstrual cycle. 

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Eating Disorders or Extreme Weight Loss – sometimes seen in athletes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premature ovarian failure – the loss of normal ovarian function before the age of 40
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) 
  • Uterine fibroids-  these are cancerous growths of the uterus can cause heavy and prolonged menstrual periods. 

What are some things you can do to prevent irregular periods?

For some women, birth control can help regulate menstruation, but that may not always be the case. Irregularities in menstruation, especially when you’ve had a normal cycle for the most part should be discussed with your primary care provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

GENERAL DISCLAIMER: It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. For questions on this article, please contact our team at hello@itsfetch.co.

Female Reproductive System – Reproductive Health | NIOSH. (2022, June 2). CDC. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/femalereproductivesystem.html 
Periods and fertility in the menstrual cycle. (n.d.). NHS. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/periods/fertility-in-the-menstrual-cycle/ 
Sullivan, D. (2022, April 4). 10 of the best period tracking apps for 2022. Medical News Today. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320758 

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