6 Interesting Menstruation Facts and Period Myths
You probably have a general understanding of why women get their periods. However, do you really know about the menstrual cycle beyond the basics? Having a full understanding of how the menstrual cycle works can help you stay healthy throughout life. You can also avoid health problems down the road. That’s why our experts came up with six interesting menstruation facts and period myths to help you discern what’s normal and what’s not. Here are the facts:
- All menstrual cycles do not last 28 days
- The timing of menstruation depends on ovulation
- Periods can be irregular due to stress or illness
- Fluctuations in weight can affect your period
- Abnormal bleeding can indicate more serious health issues
- Irregular periods can often be treated with birth control pills or other hormonal treatments
1. All menstrual cycles do not last 28 days
Many different menstruation facts exist stating different cycle averages. Furthermore, many period myths state your period lasts 28 days. However, a woman’s menstrual cycle can range anywhere from 21 days to 35 days depending on her age and other various health factors. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but a shorter or longer cycle doesn’t necessarily mean your health is at risk. Providers consider a cycle that strays from the average 28 days normal and healthy, as long as it’s regular and fairly predictable.
2. The timing of menstruation depends on ovulation
Your menstrual period normally occurs 14 days after ovulation. The first part of the cycle can vary from 7 to 20 days which can result in shorter or longer cycles, depending on when you ovulate. For example, if you ovulate on day 14, you might have your period on day 28. On the other hand, if you ovulate on day 10, your period should arrive on day 24.
3. Periods can be irregular due to stress or illness
One reason why periods can be irregular on our list of menstruation facts is stress. Any stress on the body, whether, physical or mental, can upset the natural balance of other hormones. This can result in a late or early period. Stressful life events can cause an irregular period, as can thyroid problems, illnesses such as the flu, certain medications, and switching birth control.
4. Fluctuations in weight can affect your period
Since your body needs a certain amount of fat to store and release estrogen and other hormones, your period can become irregular if you lose or gain weight during your cycle. In many cases, women with a high percentage of body fat are more likely to experience irregular menstrual cycles due to excess estrogen production.
5. Abnormal bleeding can indicate more serious health issues
Abnormal bleeding and spotting during your cycle can signal other underlying health issues, such as cancer, polyps, infection or menopause. Contact your gynecologist immediately if you’ve been experiencing abnormal bleeding so you can be screened for other health problems.
6. Irregular periods can often be treated with birth control pills or other hormonal treatments
Birth control pills can often help regulate your menstrual cycle so you can experience lighter, more regular periods. Talk to your gynecologist about your options for birth control pills that will help you manage your monthly periods more efficiently based on your unique health situation.
Tracking your menstrual period and knowing how to identify certain symptoms can help you stay fertile, healthy, and happy for years to come. Having a better understanding of your body can also help you prevent and treat female health problems. Together, you and your gynecologist can work on addressing issues and period myths so you can benefit from a longer, fuller life.
Contact WCF to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified gynecologists or to receive additional resources on the menstrual cycle.