How are women treated differently during menstruation?

Menstruation - all about the rule

What is menstruation (rule, period)?

The first menstrual bleeding (menarche) begins during puberty. The bleeding is a sign of the onset of sexual maturity and fertility. From now on, an interplay of hormones is repeated in the body in more or less regular cycles. In young girls as well as in women going through menopause, the bleeding is often irregular. The menstrual fluid consists of blood from the uterus and parts of the uterine lining.

The female genital organs

The internal sexual organs of women consist of two ovaries and fallopian tubes, the uterus and the vagina. The task of the ovaries is to develop mature, fertile egg cells. When the ovary is stimulated by hormones (follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones, FSH and LH), the egg matures. Around the middle of the cycle, the mature egg cell detaches from the ovary (ovulation or ovulation) and is caught by the fallopian tube (tube).

The egg then travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. The uterine lining is prepared for the absorption of the egg by the action of the aforementioned hormones and progesterone (luteal hormone). Progesterone is released shortly after ovulation. When the egg is fertilized, it becomes lodged in the lining of the uterus.

If fertilization does not take place, there is a reduced release of progesterone, whereby the uterine lining is broken down and remnants of the menstrual period are rejected.

A woman loses around 150 milliliters of blood with every menstrual period. The entire cycle lasts about 28 days. If the woman is not pregnant, it starts all over again. The cycle counts the time between the first day of the menstrual period and the last day before the next menstrual period. Cycle lengths of 25 to 35 days are considered normal.

When does menstruation start?

The first menstrual period generally occurs between the ages of 11 and 14 years. It is also known as menarche.

Women menstruate until they are roughly 45 to 55 years old and the menopause begins. In total, a woman will have around 500 menstrual periods in her lifetime.

Can you feel ovulation?

Many women feel their ovulation. It manifests itself as a weak pain in the abdomen. Some women also get a little bleeding around ovulation.

The time of ovulation can be determined from the body temperature. At the time of ovulation, it increases by 0.5 degrees. The temperature method for natural contraception takes advantage of this. If the body temperature rises, ovulation has occurred. This happens about eight to ten days after each menstruation (corresponds to about the 14th day of the cycle). This is also the most fertile time in the cycle.

In the middle of the cycle, the vaginal discharge becomes mucous and pulls threads. The time of ovulation can also be recognized by the consistency of the mucus.

What factors affect menstruation?

The menstrual cycle is a very complex process involving many hormones, the female reproductive organs and the nervous system.

If your cycle is irregular, your doctor should measure the level of hormones in your blood and determine if it is in balance.

Body weight also plays a role in the menstrual cycle. Being underweight often brings the hormone release and thus menstruation to a standstill. Recent studies show that being extremely overweight leads to irregular menstrual periods. Compared to women of ideal weight, obese women do not get pregnant as easily either. Proper nutrition is therefore particularly important for fertility.

Stress is another factor that affects hormone release and menstruation. In some cases there is no menstrual period at all. If women fear they may be pregnant, the stress sometimes leads to the onset of menstruation later. Mental and physical balance have a positive effect on the regular days.

Regular sport as well as mental and physical balance are most beneficial for painless and somewhat pleasant "regular days". Too much sport and overexertion can affect the hormone release to such an extent that menstruation stops altogether.

What problems can arise during menstruation?

Women feel very different during menstruation. Many have no problems at all, others are severely restricted in their activities due to extreme pain.

The following symptoms can occur:

  • Spasmodic contractions (painful contraction) in the abdomen
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Nausea, possibly with vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • Sweats
  • Fatigue and lack of energy

Pain and Discomfort: Why?

During menstruation, prostaglandins are released in the uterus. These are hormone-like substances that trigger various regulatory mechanisms in the body or intervene in them. In the uterus, for example, they can cause contractions that are perceived as painful. Blood and mucous membrane residues are excreted through the contractions. Other causes of painful periods could be previous infections or benign muscle lumps in the wall of the uterus (fibroids). This is especially true for slightly older women.

Pronounced menstrual pain can be successfully treated with combination preparations made from estrogen and progestin (such as the pill or vaginal ring). Pure progestin supplements such as new minipill, minipill, the contraceptive stick or the three-month injection are also suitable. The uterine lining is less built up by the hormones, the wound surface is smaller if the remnants loosen during the bleeding, and the bleeding is weaker and shorter overall.

Tips for feeling good

There are several things you can do to feel better when you menstruate:

  • Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, black tea and cola.
  • Avoid stress and relax.
  • Let your partner massage you.
  • Exercise, but do not overexert your body.
  • Keep yourself warm and have warm drinks.
  • If you have particularly severe pain, take pain reliever medication. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

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