Menstruation usually occurs on a monthly cycle. It is the process by which a woman’s body prepares for a possible pregnancy. An egg will be released from the ovaries during this process. If that egg is not fertilised, the uterine lining is shed via the vagina during a woman’s menstrual period.
During their period, many women experience symptoms. Certain symptoms, such as cramping or mood swings, can appear before the actual period. This is referred to as PMS or premenstrual syndrome. Most women’s menstrual symptoms go away once their period is over.
What is the duration of menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is monitored from the start of one period to the start of the next. The duration of menstrual cycle usually lasts two to eight days. The menstrual cycle progresses through several stages. These are some examples:
- The follicular time
The follicular phase begins on the first day of menstruation and continues until ovulation occurs. The ovaries produce follicles during this stage, which then house eggs. This encourages the uterine lining to thicken. During this period, oestrogen levels rise.
The mature egg is released into the fallopian tube, which leads to the uterus. This usually happens about two weeks into a woman’s cycle, or about halfway through.
- Luteal phase
The body keeps up its pregnancy preparation. Progesterone levels rise along with a negligible amount of oestrogen as a result. This stage will stop, and menstruation will start if a fertilised egg does not implant in the uterus. This part of a 28-day cycle concludes around day 22.
During this stage, a woman’s period causes the thicker uterine lining to shed.
How can I track my menstrual cycle?
Start maintaining a calendar of your menstrual cycle to determine what is typical for you. To determine how regularly your periods occur, start by noting your start date on a monthly basis for several months in a row. Every month, take note of the following as well if your periods worry you:
- Final day. How long does the average period last for you? Is it longer than normal or shorter?
- Flow. Keep a record of how heavy your flow is. Is it heavier or lighter than usual? How frequently should you replace your sanitary protection? Do you have any recent bleeding?
- unnatural bleeding Do you experience bleeding between periods?
- Pain. Describe any period pain you may have had. Do you feel more discomfort than usual?
- further changes Have your emotions or conduct changed at all? Around the time of the shift in your periods, did anything new happen?
When to see your doctor?
There are several signs that suggest it is a good idea to speak with your healthcare physician, even if every woman is a little different and her “normal” will be. These signs consist of:
- After being regular and predictable for a while, your period starts to fluctuate.
- You are not pregnant, but your periods stop abruptly for 90 days or longer.
- There are more than eight days left in your period.
- Your bleeding is significantly worse than usual.
- Every two hours, you go through more than one pad or tampon.
- You suddenly start to spot.
- You have excruciating discomfort during your period.
- Your cycles are spaced apart by more than 35 days or less than 21 days.
- Seek emergency medical assistance if you suddenly develop a fever and flu-like symptoms after using tampons. These signs may point to toxic shock syndrome, a potentially harmful consequence.
If you find this confusing but want to stay on top of your menstrual cycle simply log on to Kotex, a menstrual tracking app, that will help you with the process.
There is no fixed answer to how long periods last. You can identify trends and patterns by keeping track of your individual cycle each month, which will help you become aware of any changes as soon as they occur.
You can always schedule a visit with your gynaecologist to confirm if you’re experiencing any unexpected changes in your period that you don’t think are caused by stress, especially if they come along with other new symptoms.