periods The complete guide to menstruation

The periodsmenstruation, the menstrual cycle, ragnagnas, the English coming in... They accompany most women at every stage of life: from adolescence, through their fertile period, pregnancy and on to menopause.

What is periods ?

periods is about 400 times in a woman's lifetime, or a total of just over 3,600 days, 13 times a year. This bleeding corresponds to the breakdown of the endometrium within the uterus. These days, women have a number of solutions for dealing with their periods : period pantstampon, pad, hormonal contraceptive, etc.

To help you better understand what periods is all about, we've listed below all the information you need to know about the menstrual cycle and menstrual flow. Unfortunately, for generations there has been a taboo surrounding periods and its social acceptance. So it's important to talk about this subject in order to democratize it and get people talking!

The color of periods

The color of periods can vary according to a number of factors. Blood tissue will change color according to its exposure to oxygen in the air, its viscosity and its quantity.

  • Bright red bleeding usually occurs when periods is at its heaviest, around the second or third day of menstruation. This is blood that has no time to s'oxidize, as it flows quickly and abundantly.
  • Some blood discharges can be very dark red or black when they take the form of blood clots.
  • The blood can be reddish or dark brown and very thick at the beginning of periods.
  • At the beginning and at the end of your period, you may notice brown blood. Don't worry, this color is due to the fact that it takes longer for the blood to detach from the uterine wall and pass through the vagina into your panties.
  • Spotting, ovulation bleeding or lhe use of hormonal contraceptives can lead to pink, light red or pinkish blood loss.
  • If the color of your discharge is gray or grayish, it could be a sign of infection or miscarriage. Don't forget to consult a health professional!

Length of menstrual cycle

A "normal" cycle lasts around 28 days, but can vary from 25 to 33 days. This is different from the duration of periods. The cycle begins with the onset of menstruation and ends the day before the next period. However, excessive variations in these average durations may indicate a menstrual disorder.

How does the menstrual cycle work?

The female cycle is made up of different phases, which are part of a pattern that repeats itself from girlhood through to menopause.
Let's take the example of a 28-day cycle:

  • The start of the cycle will always begin with bleeding from periods which lasts an average of 5 to 6 days. This sis called the follicular phase.
  • The ovulatory phase: 14 days after the periods , ovulation takes place, when the body is ready to receive sperm and create an embryo. At this point, the oocyte(s) released by the ovaries will transform into an egg.
  • SThis is followed by the post-ovulatory phase, also known as the luteal phase. Under the influence of progesterone, the body prepares to eliminate the endometrium, the layer of the uterus that will not support an embryo.

Is it possible to have periods twice in the same menstrual cycle?

You may experience vaginal discharge several times a month. You may experience bleeding around the time of ovulation and a few spotting phases. Nevertheless, menstruating several times a month is a sign that you have short or irregular cycles.

The end of periods from the start of pregnancy

It's not uncommon for women to have periods pregnant, especially in early pregnancy. This phenomenon is known as periods anniversaries. But amenorrhea, at the end of the menstrual cycle, is normally one of the symptoms of pregnancy. Those with a regular menstrual cycle will be able to guess the onset of pregnancy when menstruation is late or absent. In this case, don't hesitate to take a pregnancy test!

At what age does periods start?

The first periods appear at puberty in girls, generally between the ages of 10 and 16, although it's not unusual for them to arrive a little earlier or later. The average arrival of the first menstrual period is around age 12, and often within 2 years of the appearance of breasts.

What are the effects of periods on health and the body?

They can have several impacts on health and the body. Between premenstrual syndrome, which occurs a few days before, and menstruation itself, most of the classic symptoms are exacerbated fatigue and pelvic pain due to contractions of the uterus to evacuate the endometrium!

Premenstrual syndrome: the symptoms of periods

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is the sign that your period is imminent! Several symptoms of periods and their arrival can alert you:

  • extreme fatigue and/or insomnia
  • stomach pains, diarrhea due to uterine contractions and/or bloating
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • chest pain

Possible disorders due to periods

Your menstrual cycle may also be affected by periods disorders of varying severity. These are the main ones:

  • Dysmenorrhea, painful periods
  • Hypermenorrhea, abnormally heavy and long periods, or its opposite,hypomenorrhea.
  • Anemia, the well-known iron deficiency of menstruating women, if your blood loss is heavy or even hemorrhagic.
  • lamenorrhea, which is lthe absence of menstrual flow
  • Oligomenorrhea, very long cycles longer than 35 days, or its opposite, polymenorrhea, shorter than 25 days.
  • Metrorrhagia, bleeding outside the menstrual period

The case of endometriosis

Endometriosis, the gynecological condition that affects around 1 in 10 menstruating women, is caused by a disruption ofendometrial-like cells found in other parts of the body. As these endometrial cells and their reactions are intimately linked to hormone levels in the menstrual cycle, localized pain at the level of these lesions in the body can appear before, after or during each period of periods.

How do contraceptive methods affect periods ?

The relationship between contraception and periods is often intertwined, as the various contraceptive methods have an impact on menstruation or the production of uterine mucus to prevent ovulation or implantation. Their format and mode of action differ, but the result is the same: to avoid pregnancy.

  • Hormonal contraceptives based onestrogen, such as the patch, vaginal ring or estrogen-progestin pill, or simply progesterone, such as the hormonal intrauterine device, implant or microdosed pill: under the action of hormones, they act on the thickness of the cervical mucus, limiting the development of the endometrium and causing "false periods", known as withdrawal bleeding.
  • Non-hormonal contraceptives, such as condoms, copper IUDs and spermicides: these are mechanical, hormone-free barriers to fertilization, so menstruation is natural and follows a woman's basic rhythm.

How can you protect yourself from blood loss during the day and at night?

When we find ourselves in this phase of our cycle, the first question that comes to mind is that of period protection to contain our periods. There are a plethora of solutions for absorbing or retaining the blood flow, and each woman must adapt her choice according to the abundance of her discharge, her personal comfort and her sporting or non-sporting activities of the day. Sanitary protection can be disposable or reusable: at Elia, we have a particular weakness for disposable sanitary protection. period pantsAt Elia, we have a particular weakness for the long-lasting sanitary pad, which adapts to the different flows of day and night, but there are also tampons, sanitary towels, panty liners, cups, menstrual sponges... The choice is wide! There are also special techniques such as free instinctive flow, which consists of retaining blood in the vagina, but which is more suited to daytime use.

Are there any contraindications to following periods ?

There are no formal contraindications orforbidden sporting activities; it's rather a very personal question of comfort and feeling at ease during this period. For example, sport during periods is recommended to relieve menstrual pain, but some women prefer to rest so as not to accumulate additional fatigue. Swimming and bathing also make menstrual logistics a little more complex than usual, but there are now menstrual swimsuits available which, in addition to the classic pool tampon, offer an absorbent solution so you don't have to go without. Having periods shouldn't be an inevitability or a handicap: live it the way you want - you have every right!

How to calculate the length of your periods and menstrual cycle?

There are several ways to calculate the length of your menstrual cycle and periods. These methods are effective not only for anticipating the sight of bleeding, but also for avoiding or encouraging pregnancy:

  • Today, the easiest way is to use the services of an app for periods on your smartphone, which will give you alerts on when you're ovulating and when your blood is flowing. Some examples ofapps that might suit you: Clue, Flo, Glow, Menstrual Period Tracker, Eve
  • The periods calendar. This method is reliable and can only be used for women who have regular losses.
  • Use a female cycle necklace to help track ovulation and fertility. Each bead in the necklace is color-coded to represent a day in the cycle.
  • The mucus method, also known as the ovulation method. By observing her vaginal secretions several times a day from the last day of menstruation, you can determine the stages of her menstrual cycle.
  • Symptothermia is a method that combines resting body temperature measurements, a cervical mucus calendar and conventional calendar methods.
  • Lactational amenorrhea can be used after childbirth if the mother is breastfeeding her baby. For the duration of exclusive breastfeeding, and in particular for the first 6 weeks after delivery.

FAQs on periods

What happens in the body when you have your periods ?

When a woman has her periods, she evacuates theendometrium, which detaches from the uterine wall, passes through the cervix and into the vagina, resulting in monthly bleeding. This is the result of hormonal variations, which trigger thickening of the uterine mucosa at the start of the menstrual cycle. When the ovum, which matures during ovulation, is not fertilized, the endometrium disintegrates, forming bloody discharge.

What should I do if my periods m 'worry?

When a woman has her periods, she evacuates theendometrium, which detaches from the uterine wall, passes through the cervix and into the vagina, resulting in monthly bleeding. This is the result of hormonal variations, which trigger thickening of the uterine mucosa at the start of the menstrual cycle. When the ovum, which matures during ovulation, is not fertilized, the endometrium disintegrates, forming bloody discharge.