If you’re a woman, you’ve probably had at least one moment in your life where your period was very much unwelcome. Let’s be honest: the painful cramps, mood swings, and the inconvenience are nothing to snuff out. In fact, the charge against periods is so great that some birth control companies have cited menstruation reduction as a benefit.
So, if periods aren’t necessary, why do women have them at all? Actually, the fact is that menstruation is an important indicator of health not only for reproductive purpose but also for your whole body.
A period occurs when an egg is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where it is either fertilized by sperm or, when pregnancy does not occur, attaches to the uterine lining. Menstruation is the process of the blood and tissue, called the corpus luteum, exiting the body. Every woman is different, but typically most cycles last between 21 to 35 days. You can learn about your own reproductive health tracking and knowing your own cycle. For example, a regular menstruation pattern allows you to know your body is able to get pregnant as well as alerting you to a possible pregnancy if your period is late.
Menstruation is directly related to the balance of hormones of estrogen, progesterone and others. Both estrogen and progesterone affect the length and regularity of your periods. Luteinizing hormones stimulates the ovaries and also plays a role in causing the ovaries to release the egg. Similarly, follicle-stimulating hormone helps grow and nurture the eggs in the ovary prior to ovulation. Some of the side effects of a hormonal imbalance include infertility, weight gain or weight loss, anxiety and/or depression, sleep issues and more.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Although periods can be painful and inconvenient, ultimately, they are an indicator of your overall health. For example, the hormones mentioned above need to have a specific balance or they don’t work properly – which can result in irregular cycles and even amenorrhea, when the menstrual cycle stops altogether. Amenorrhea often occurs when a woman is breastfeeding her baby, and the process is driven by the balance of hormones that support the mother’s milk supply. You might also develop amenorrhea if you work out rigorously on a consistent basis, under eat, or both. Stress also plays a role in developing menstrual cycle irregularities.
By keeping tabs on your own personal cycle and what’s “regular” for you, you can know what to look for when something is off. The reproductive cycle is all about the balance of hormones needed to grow and nurture a growing baby. And if you chart your cycles, you’re more easily able to know if you might be pregnant due to a missed period.
Did you recently get a positive pregnancy test result? Schedule a free consultation with our team and we will help you work through some of the options available to you.
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