Menstruation occurs when an ovary releases an egg, as soon as this happens the lining of the uterus grows and becomes flooded with blood. If the egg is not fertilized, the ovary will release progesterone, which causes the menstrual flow. This occurs every 28 days unless it is interrupted by pregnancy or ended by menopause.
The symptoms of the onset of the period as well as her own period may vary occasionally in each women. This is usually normal, but it can sometimes be the result of something more serious. There are three main categories of menstrual irregularities, they are painful periods, lack of period and heavy periods.
Lack of period
There is often no cause for concern, but occasionally it can be sign of an underlying problem. Menstruation may not begin at puberty or for some reason periods stop during your adult life. If periods have never occurred it may be hormonal problems, or it may signal ill formed or non-existent ovaries, although this only occurs in very rare cases. If periods have just stopped, it might be an indication that you have low levels of oestrogen in your body, or there may be a lack of progesterone. Another common reason for your periods ceasing is pregnancy. Sports injuries, stress, ovarian cysts, excessive exercise, very low body fat and Anorexia nervosa can also cause this problem.
Eating foods rich in zinc (fish, lean meats and poultry), and taking supplements such as Vitamin B complex (wheat germ, brewer’s yeast), C, E, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and evening primrose oil. Aromatherapy remedies include geranium, fennel or rose to regulate your period. Put several drops into a carrier oil and then massage clockwise into your abdomen. Fennel should not be used on epileptics or near them, and it should not be used during pregnancy either.
Painful periods are quite normal even though it is a slightly unpleasant problem. Painful periods can signal a more serious condition though.
Doctors are not sure what the exact cause of painful periods, although they believe that it may be the result of an excess of prostaglandins, a substance which is released from the cells lining the womb. It may also be caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection, growths in the uterus or endometriosis.
Try eat a balanced diet consisting of small meals throughout the day and try avoid salt, sugar and caffeine, rather than eating three large meals a day. A multivitamin supplement containing calcium, vitamin B complex, and magnesium may give you relief. Caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided.
A heavy period can be classified by a menstrual flow that lasts longer than 8 days, includes large clots of blood or saturates tampons within an hour. Pelvic infection, use of an IUD, hormonal imbalances, uterine growths or endometriosis can often cause heavy periods. Low levels of progesterone, an excess of prostaglandins, or problems with ovulation can also cause heavier periods.
Magnesium and calcium are known to stop uterine muscle cramps and lessen the flow. A warm, relaxing bath, taking analgesics and drinking herbal teas containing yarrow can help control the bleeding and ease the discomfort.
Take a multivitamin supplement that include vitamins A, B complex, C and E, calcium and iron. Try to also keep within your normal weight range.
When to seek further professional advice
If you ever experience any sharp abdominal pain before periods or during intercourse. You have a heavy menstrual flow that fills a sanitary pad or tampon within an hour.
Lack of Period Natural Treatments
This herbal remedy helps initiate menstrual flow - make a tincture of one part chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), two parts mugwort leaf (Artemisia argyi) and two parts blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides); take 2 ml of this tincture three times a day until menstrual flow begins.
Painful Period Natural Treatments
Most alternative therapies for menstrual cramps focus on reducing tension in general or promoting the relaxation of tense muscles. Chamomile rubbed on the lower abdomen, back and legs is usually very helpful. A herbal remedy used to relieve cramps is to drink a hot tea of 2 teaspoons cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) simmered for 15 minutes in 1 cup of water, use this 3 times daily. Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bromelain will also help relax muscles. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) and feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) can relax uterine muscles. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) helps relax cramping muscles, however, Valerian should only be used for a limited time. A professional should be consulted for correct dosage. Applying evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) over the painful area can also bring relief, but do not use it if there is a chance that you may get pregnant. Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), black haw (Viburnum lentago) and black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) might help relieve tension, painful spasms and anxiety.
Heavy Period Natural Treatments
Aromatherapy practitioners find that oils of juniper (Juniperus communis), geranium and cypress rubbed on the abdomen, sometimes bring relief for women experiencing a heavy menstrual flow. A herbal tea made from yarrow (Achillea millefolium) might help control bleeding. A tincture made of equal parts of life root (Senecio aureus), wild cranesbill (Geranium maculatum) and shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) have been found quite beneficial.
Lack of Period Traditional Treatment
Waiting to see if nature takes its course is usually the treatment for lack of periods. For a woman who exercises strenuously or who is very thin, a doctor may advise that she try a lighter training regimen or make an effort to gain weight. Treatment for anorexia nervosa may be necessary. If you are worried make sure you see your doctor. All possibilities should be looked into if your periods have stopped, stress is often to blame so reducing the stress in your life often helps. If you are underweight, try gain some weight and try maintain it. Treatment should be sought if you have been diagnosed with some other condition that may be causing amenorrhoea such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis, your doctor should be consulted first for his advice.
Painful Period Traditional Treatment
Aspirin and other analgesics can relieve mild discomfort, but if the pain is more intense you can try an over the counter analgesic. If this treatment does not ease the condition see your doctor.
Heavy Period Traditional Treatment
Treatments usually consist of iron and folic acid tablets to prevent anaemia and other deficiencies. Analgesics are given for the pain and hormones are given to correct the imbalance in your hormone levels. Minor surgery can be performed which often relieves the symptoms of heavier periods. Your doctor should be consulted and more information should be given before a decision is made though.
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