Most women start their menstrual cycle at around age 12. You've had your period for many years and often think nothing of your menstrual cycle.
However, sometimes your period will change or become somewhat alarming. Don't be afraid to discuss the following issues with your OBGYN regarding your menstrual cycle for your reproductive health.
Cramping is normal when your period starts, and cramping often begins before your menstrual cycle officially begins. Typically, cramps are your body's way of preparing to slough off your uterine lining during the release of an egg.
However, if your cramps during your period are getting worse or you feel stabbing pain in your pelvis or lower back during your period that is unusual, speak to your OBGYN about this change. You may have ovarian cysts or other reproductive health issues that need to be addressed.
Ovarian cysts can also be to blame for cramps that you feel in the middle of the month, weeks before your period starts. To rule out other possible causes of your cramps, such as a urinary tract infection, see your OBGYN for an exam.
Spotting or No Cycle
If you are normally regular in your menstrual cycle and suddenly you are only spotting (seeing light to dark brown blood but no true period) or you aren't getting your period at all, see your doctor right away.
Your first instinct may be that you are pregnant, which is a possibility if you are sexually active. Other reasons your period may be non-existent or minimal include stress, hormone-related issues (such as menopause or endometriosis), or other medical problems. Your OBGYN will give you a thorough exam, including a pregnancy test, to find out what is making your menstrual cycle different.
Constipation During Your Period
Your body normally experiences a malady of changes when you are on your period: your breasts become tender, you get moody, and intercourse can become more painful or sensitive for you. If you have problems with completing bowel movements when you are on your period (or in the days leading to or following your period), speak to your gynecologist.
Endometriosis may be to blame for your bowel problems. Endometriosis is a gynecological problem that causes reproductive tissue to build up around the ovaries and near the vagina or rectal tissue. You may also notice your periods becoming heavier and longer in addition to having constipation if you have endometriosis (an affliction around 10% of women have, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America).
Menstrual migraines are intense, debilitating headaches that occur when a women is near or going through her menstrual cycle. Caused by a change in hormones, menstrual migraines can be very painful.
Menstrual migraines are commonly caused by a drop in progesterone levels when you are on your period. Your gynecologist will inquire about your birth control usage to determine if prescribing a progestin-only pill can help with your migraine pain when you are menstruating. A doctor could also prescribe a painkiller to use while you are on your period to help you manage your migraine symptoms.
Your period will change from time to time as you age or as your weight fluctuates. Your reproductive health can be preserved by visiting your gynecologist every year, even if you feel fine. Never hold anything back when you are speaking with your OBGYN. Your concerns are valid and your gynecologist can only address your concerns if you speak up about them.
Your gynecological health is important. See our specialists at the office of Aloma Park OBGYN, PA. We take care of you for all your reproductive needs, from everyday gynecological care to pregnancy and beyond. Call us today to schedule an appointment.