Periods and Menstruation

Generally, healthy females should have one menses every month (accepted range of cycles: 24 to 42 days), menstrual bleeding not longer than one week, 1-2 (first) days may be heavy at times with some pain.

The variations depend on your age, body weight, stress, other health problems etc.

Keeping a menstrual calendar will help your doctor to assess your menstrual pattern.

I have irregular periods and should I go see a gynaecologist?

The safe way is to do the investigations: basic hormonal levels and ultrasound and good medical history and examination done by gynaecologist who will then decide if further treatment is needed. The best option is to see your gynecologist who specialises in reproductive endocrinology.

Is it normal to experience itchness of the private parts when I use a sanitary pad?

Itchiness of the private parts, particularly during menses, can be due to the irritation of the skin, but there is a possibility of an increased growth of fungal organisms or other infection. In our body, we have different kinds of regular ‘tenants’ – these are bacteria that are not harmful and some fungus found in the vagina and vulva.

When the balance is lost or combined with the presence of other infection, further investigation and treatment may be needed. A simple swab test and an examination by your gynecologist will be sufficient.

Keeping yourself dry in our hot and humid climate is advised. Using plain talcum powder after a shower and avoiding conditions where you sweat excessively may be helpful as well.

What can I do to cope with the PMS symptoms (tiredness and bloating) before and after my period?

PMS may be an uncomfortable condition and some investigations (hormonal, ultrasound and also at times, gastrointestinal system) will be conducted before deciding on the treatment which will best suit your needs and relieve you of symptoms.

The best option is to see your gynecologist who specialises in reproductive endocrinology.

Is it normal to have dark brown spotting before my period?

When very light bleeding occurs, blood travels slowly from the womb, via the neck of the womb and through the vagina and in the process, red blood cells break down and release iron which is dark brown or black. This happens usually if the female hormones are very low or oscillate up and down, so expected regular menses (which is monthly shedding of the inner layer of the womb) turns into scanty irregular bleeding. However, such type of bleeding may suggest erosions or polyps of the neck of the womb, infection, which can happen after sex and also after menopause when malignancy must be ruled out.

A gynecologic examination and good medical history can clarify the situation in most of the cases and your doctor will decide if any treatment is needed. It is advisable to have Pap smears done regularly. If the situation occurs, please see your gynecologist without any hesitation.

I’m on a diet and I’m not sure if ithis had affected my menses cycle as my period has stopped. May I know how I can readjust my cycle?

Your  way of weight loss is called Crush Dieting, which knocked out your reproductive system, and to a great degree your whole metabolism. Your brain got the wrong ‘message’ that you are starved and the emergency response is to shut down all non-essential body functions, starting with your ovaries. Levels of your female hormones go down to a low in childhood, menstruations may be missing for months, and your bones will suffer the most and you may end up in osteoporosis (old age problem).

Knowing your body weight and height (before and after your diet) will enable us to calculate your ideal weight for your height and the best type of treatment to help you. A few months of hormone replacement treatment may be needed while you stabilise your weight. There is nothing wrong is losing weight but it must be gradual and in the range that will allow your body’s optimal functioning.

The best advice is to see a gynaecologist, in particular specialising in reproductive endocrinology, for advice and treatment if needed.

What kind of exercises can I do to relieve my cramps? Besides taking warm drinks, what can I do?

Menstrual cramps, Dysmenorrhea as we call it medically, is common in adolescene and usually is due to a substance called prostaglandins in menstrual blood causing the womb to contract and let the blood flow out. In young females, the neck of the womb can be very tight and it takes time to open. However menstrual cramps may have other causes (some serious) and it is good to seek your doctor’s advice.

Taking painkillers like Panadol Menstrual or Ponstan capsules that contain drug, cn help neutralise prostaglandins. Warm drinks or exercises have no direct impact on pain, but they may increase circulation in your body and help speed up blood flow. There is no need to worry because of taking painkillers for a short time, no risk of becoming dependent on it. In any case, painful cramps are self-limitng and if the pain still persists, it is advisable to seek appriopriate advice and treatment.

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