Recognize The Normal Menstrual Cycle and Not, These Are The Signs

menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle occurs as a part of the female reproduction system. During the menstrual cycle, which occurs on a monthly basis, the brain produces hormones for the body to prepare for pregnancy. While some women experience a healthy and normal menstrual cycle, others suffer from abnormal cycles.

Monitoring the menstrual cycle and its patterns is a vital part of being women. The menstrual cycle has the power to showcase when a woman undergoes her fertile period – which is important for women who are planning to get pregnant. 

One way to monitor periods, the menstrual cycle, is by downloading an application that tracks and records the menstrual cycle which can be divided into four phases.

During the body’s menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries in the reproductive tract release certain hormones.The four phases in which the menstrual cycle is divded up into depends on the fluctuating ups and downs of the hormones in the body.

Primarily, the menstrual phase: this phase lasts from between day one of the cycle up until day five. During this period of time, the uterine lining is completely expelled through the vagina if the woman is not pregnant.  Most women bleed for three to five days, however, periods that last for two days up to seven are normal. 

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Follicular phase: this phase lasts from day six to fourteen. During this time, the hormone estrogen increases which causes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to expand and grow thicker. In addition to this, the follicle-stimulating hormone cuases the follicles in the ovaries to grow. During days ten to fourteen, one of the many developing follices will form a mature egg – scientifically known as an ovum.

Ovulation: this phase occurs from around day 14 to 28 of the menstrual cycle. It begins with a sudden increase in a luteinizing hormone which causes the ovaries to release their eggs; this is called ovulation. 

Luteal phase: This phase lasts from around day 15 to 28 of the cycle. After the egg is released from the ovary, it begins to travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. When this occurs, progesterone (a hormone) increases to help prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm during this period, a woman becomes pregnant. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the uterine lining sheds blood – also known as the menstrual period.

Normal Menstrual Cycle

A normal menstrual cycle generally lasts for 28 days with a menstrual period from anywhere between 2-7 days. However, the cycle can be from 24 to up to 38 days and still be considered normal. The days of the cycle often change with age.

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For adolescents, when puberty comes in, a menstrual cycle can last even longer than 38 days. However, as adolescents approach their 20s, their cycles tend to regulate more.

Irregular Normal Menstrual Cycle

In contrast to the normal menstrual cycle, an abnormal or irregular menstrual cycle is characterized by menstrual periods of less than 24 days or more than 38 days. This can be even experienced by women who enter the premenopausal phase when their periods start to deregulate.

How To Calculate The Menstrual Cycle

Monitoring the menstrual cycle is very important for all women as it can also determine a woman’s fertile period. The correct way to monitor the menstrual cycle is to note when a period (bleeding phase) starts and ends. 

Typically, the time span between the last day of one menstrual period and the start of the next period ranges from 24 to 38 days. Additionally, women may experience various symptoms during menstruation, including pain, bloating, and breast soreness. These symptoms can help identify the underlying causes of the perceived discomfort.

Signs of an abnormal menstrual cycle

An irregular menstrual cycle can be identified by several symptoms. It is important to determine whether the menstrual schedule is regular or not.

  • Missed menstruation: When a period is skipped or does not occur as expected.
  • Longer menstrual periods: When the duration of menstrual bleeding is longer than usual.
  • Sudden cessation of menstruation: When menstrual periods abruptly stop without any gradual decrease.
  • Excessive bleeding: When there is heavier or prolonged bleeding compared to the usual amount.

These symptoms can indicate an abnormal menstrual cycle and should be further evaluated by a healthcare professional.

ALSO READ: Menstrual Pain, The Cause and Hot To Overcome It

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Causes Of Abnormal Menstrual Cycle

If your menstrual cycle is delayed compared to your usual pattern, there is typically no immediate cause for concern. Pregnancy is one possible factor that can delay menstruation, but there are numerous other reasons that can contribute to abnormal menstrual cycles. Here are some common factors.

Stress and Lifestyle

Excessive stress and an unhealthy lifestyle are indeed among the causes of an abnormal menstrual cycle. They can be characterized by changes in exercise routines, obesity, and excessive diets.

Contraception

Additionally, contraceptive devices, including the birth control pill, can also contribute to irregular menstrual cycles. Birth control pills typically contain a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones, while some pills contain only progestins.

Some women who take birth control pills may experience irregular menstrual periods. For example, their menstrual cycle may be missed for up to six months. In the case of women taking birth control pills that contain only progestin, it can even lead to bleeding between periods.

It’s important to note that irregular menstrual cycles can have various underlying causes, and the effects of birth control pills on menstruation can vary depending on the individual. If you have concerns about your menstrual cycle while using birth control pills, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that primarily affects women. It is characterized by hormonal imbalances that can hinder the maturation of eggs and disrupt consistent ovulation.

Women with PCOS commonly experience irregular menstrual cycles, and in some cases, menstrual periods may abruptly cease. While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, there is often a familial predisposition to the condition.

THYROID

Thyroid disease is another factor that can contribute to abnormal menstrual cycles. It is a health condition characterized by an imbalance in the production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism in the body.

Similar to PCOS, thyroid disease can have a hereditary component. Additionally, certain medications containing high levels of iodine can also be a cause. Thyroid disease is more prevalent in women.

Tips For Normal Menstrual Cycle

Irregular cycles can sometimes be uncomfortable, however, don’t worry! There are a handful of natural tips to get your menstrual cycle back to normal. These suggestions are easy to implement.

Getting enough sleep

Having an adequate amount of sleep can help restore a normal menstrual cycle. The recommended sleep duration for adults is typically 7-9 hours per day. The quality of sleep significantly influences hormone balance in the body.

Avoid Excessive Stress

Avoid excessive stress, as it can disrupt the regularity of menstrual cycles. Engaging in activities like yoga or meditation can be effective strategies for managing stressful thoughts and promoting a balanced menstrual cycle.

Change Contraceptive Equipment

Many women may experience irregular menstrual cycles as a result of using contraceptives, such as birth control pills. However, this can often be resolved by switching to different contraceptive methods. If you are uncertain or confused about selecting the most suitable contraception option, it is advisable to consult with a doctor for professional guidance and assistance.

Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and consuming nutrient-rich foods can support the restoration of a normal menstrual cycle. Exercise and a balanced diet contribute to overall well-being and can positively impact menstrual health.

Keep Your Ideal Weight

Obesity is a known factor that can contribute to abnormal menstrual cycles. To address this, it is important to maintain an ideal body weight. Focus on consuming a healthy diet and avoid overeating. Strive to make nutritious food choices and practice portion control to support a healthy weight and promote a regular menstrual cycle.

  1. my.clevelandclinic.org. Abnormal Menstruation Periods. 
  2. www.nhs.uk. Irregular Periods
  3. my.clevelandclinic.org. Normal Menstruation
  4. Gloria Bachmann, Nora J. Doty, in Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine (Second Edition), 2010 source
  5. www.womenshealth.gov. Period Problems
  6. J Physiol Anthropol. 2009;28(3):129-36. doi: 10.2114/jpa2.28.129. source
  7. KEITH P. MADSEN, MD, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jan 1;85(1):35-43. Source
  8. www.womenshealth.gov. Your Menstrual Cycle
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