What Happens to Your Body on Your Period?

Before, during, and after your period, you may notice changes in your body. With menstrual cycles recurring every 28 days on average, periods are something women have to learn to live with. Understanding what happens to your body during your period can provide some peace of mind. It can also help you understand why you are experiencing what you’re experiencing. Every woman can have different symptoms so while your body may go through similar things, experiences may vary. To determine if what you’re experiencing is normal, consult your doctor.

The Menstrual Cycle: A Brief Overview

Menstruation, also known as menses, menstrual cycle, or period,  is the monthly cycle of shedding the lining of your uterus. Driven by hormones, the lining of your uterus should thicken and ovaries should release an egg (otherwise known as ovulation). If the egg isn’t fertilized (pregnancy), the lining of the uterus breaks down and sheds. Hello, period.

The menstrual cycle on the other hand describes the series of events that occurs as your body prepares for the potential of pregnancy each month. Every month women have a cycle, which starts the first day of your menstrual period and continues until your next period begins, and then the cycle starts over. Cycles can vary but are usually between 21 to 35 days, with 28 days being the average.

Phase 1: Menstrual Phase

For most women, the menstrual or menses phase lasts from cycle day one to five. During this time, the lining of the uterus sheds if a woman is not pregnant. During this time, you will bleed.

Phase 2: Follicular Phase

Cycle day six to fourteen for most women is the follicular phase. During this phase, estrogen levels rise resulting in the lining of the uterus to thicken and grow. The follicle-stimulating hormone also comes into play during this phase, causing follicles in your ovaries to grow. Follicles can turn into eggs, and if fertilized, they can become an embryo. Oh baby!

Phase 3: Ovulation Phase

Moving along to day fourteen to twenty eight of the cycle, the luteinizing hormone (LH) rises and causes an egg to be released. Otherwise known as ovulation. Ovulation may not occur every month and the timing of it can vary. Testing your LH levels can help you identify your window of ovulation.

Phase 4: Luteal Phase

The luteal phase can last from days fifteen to twenty eight. During this phase the egg that dropped during ovulation starts to travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. To help the body prepare for pregnancy, progesterone levels rise. If pregnancy does not occur, your cycle should restart soon.

Physical and Emotional Changes

Being female requires incredible strength. Our bodies experience much change during our cycle, including physical and emotional changes. Rest assured though that you are not the only one experiencing these changes. Stay strong and find ways to improve your overall well being. From exercise to hobbies it’s important to make time for yourself to maintain a happy and healthy physical and emotional state. Cycles can definitely cause both physical and emotional changes.

Common Symptoms Of Having a Period

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes a variety of signs and symptoms that result from periods or menstrual cycles. For some women, signs and symptoms reoccur in a predictable pattern, but with our bodies and lives constantly changing, PMS symptoms can too. PMS can include physical and emotional symptoms. Here are some symptoms of having a period.

  • Menstrual cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Crying spells
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Poor concentration

These are just a handful of symptoms that your period is here or near. Most women find that signs and symptoms fade after about four days of their period.

What To Do When You Get Your Period

Since periods occur on a regular basis, you can prepare. Tracking cycles can help you know what to expect and when. Here are some ways you can prepare for your period and hopefully make it a little easier to live with.

  • Be prepared with supplies: Supplies such as menstrual protection products and period relief medicine are two examples of supplies you should keep nearby. Some women also enjoy essential oils and other natural remedies that help them feel better. Find what works for you and plan ahead.
  • Manage discomfort: Comfort is key, period or not. Find what works to curb your PMS symptoms. If your PMS is affecting your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor. Period underwear can help manage the discomfort and inconvenience of single use menstrual products such as pads, tampons, or cups.
  • Maintain hygiene: Keeping clean during your period is crucial for both comfort and health. Make sure to change your menstrual products regularly to avoid bacterial growth and odor. Washing your hands before and after changing, using unscented soap for intimate areas, and keeping a small pack of feminine wipes in your bag can help you maintain hygiene during your period.
  • Track your cycle: Tracking your cycle is a gamechanger. Some of us may not be blessed with consistent periods, which can make tracking even more valuable. When you visit your doctor they will ask for your cycle dates. Tracking your cycle can help you be prepared with accurate information. It can also help you prepare for your period or PMS symptoms to start.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished: It’s important to take care of your body at all times. Ensuring you are properly hydrated and eating a balanced diet can promote a happier, healthier you, while helping to stabilize period symptoms.
  • Listen to your body: It can be hard to admit or respect that we are just not having a great day. It’s okay to take a rest or admit you don’t feel 100%. Always listen to your body.

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