Young girls are often between 8 and 15 years old when they experience their first period. The first cycles might be quite irregular. The average age for onset of menstruation is however, 12 years. However, most women will see their period recur every 28 days. However, cycles of 21 to 35 days are also normal in adult women. Girls over 13 years of age can experience more irregular cycles that range from 21 to 45 days. Hormones regulate these cycles and periods typically last for between 3 and 7 days, and the amount of blood loss can vary. They can range in severity between mild, moderate, and heavy.
- Menstrual symptoms
Above all, not every woman will experience the same premenstrual symptoms. Common symptoms however include:
- breast swelling and tenderness
- acne breakouts
- leg, back, or stomach cramping
- premenstrual syndrome
Therefore, some women may confuse the symptoms of menstruation with those of early pregnancy, as they can be similar. These include a missed period, breast tenderness or swelling, nausea, frequent urination, and also tiredness.
2. Premenstrual syndrome
However, Some women report feeling the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This very common condition can include symptoms such as:
- rapid changes in mood
- social withdrawal
- difficulty concentrating
- breast tenderness
These symptoms can however, vary in severity. Other symptoms may also include joint or muscle pain, headaches, fluid retention, constipation, and diarrhea.
However, PMS may be caused by changes in hormone or serotonin levels.
3. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Some women experience a severe form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It can lead to the following symptoms:
- mood swings
- feelings of being overwhelmed
- concentration difficulties
Women should however, speak with their doctor for evaluation and treatment if they feel they may be experiencing PMDD. Depression may be an underlying cause .
4. Menstrual cycle problems
Women may at times experience problems or irregularities in their menstrual cycle. Common problems include:
Amenorrhea: This refers to the absence of a menstrual cycle for at least 90 days. Contributing factors amenorrhea period include pregnancy, breastfeeding, eating disorders, excessive exercising, and also stress.
Dysmenorrhea: This is sometimes severe menstrual pain. Possible causes include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and also excessive levels of a hormone called prostaglandin.
Abnormal uterine bleeding: This term however, includes any vaginal bleeding not considered normal for a menstrual period. This might include bleeding between periods or after sex, any vaginal spotting, unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, and also postmenopausal bleeding.
5. When to call a doctor
Some medical conditions can also affect the menstrual cycle, including polycystic ovarian disease, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.
In addition, It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if symptoms are causing concern. Indications for speaking with a doctor about a period include:
- abnormal uterine bleeding
- any postmenopausal bleeding
- not having experienced a period by 15 years of age or within 3 years of breast development
- no menstrual flow for more than 90 days
- irregular bleeding between periods
- menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than 7 days
- periods occurring more often than every 21 days
- heavy vaginal bleeding that requires a tampon or pad change every 1 to 2 hours
- severe menstrual pain
- signs of toxic shock syndrome, a bacterial infection more commonly associated with tampon use
By Cynthia Nwankwo(Top5er)