Think You Know Your Period?
Your grandmother maybe called it “the curse.” When you were little you may have overheard adult women talking about a visit from “Aunt Flo.” Now that you’re an adult yourself, you’re very familiar with your period. Actually, women have around 450 periods in their lifetime, so you’re on a first-name basis, no doubt.
But here are four things you maybe don’t know about this monthly visitor.
- Periods you have when on the pill aren’t regular periods.
Because birth control pills prevent you from ovulating, the bleeding during the one week you take sugar pills isn’t a true period. Bleeding during that week on the pill is known as “monthly withdrawal bleeding,” and it’s different than typical menstrual cycle bleeding.
Normally, you ovulate in the middle of your menstrual cycle. If the released egg isn’t fertilized, your hormone levels drop, and you shed the lining inside your uterus. This is your period.
Even though you don’t ovulate on the pill, your body still builds up the lining of your uterus. Bleeding on the pill is a reaction to the lack of hormones during the last week.
- Yes, you can get pregnant during your period.
Many women still believe they can’t get pregnant during your period. First, some women ovulate before their period is over or within a few days after the bleeding stops. And sperm can live for a leisurely three days in your body after sex. Do the math, and you can get pregnant.
Also, some women bleed when their body releases the egg and think this is their period. It’s not and you’re actually at peak fertility at this time, so you’re more likely to get pregnant.
If you don’t want to get pregnant, use a condom no matter what time of the month it is.
- Your menstrual cycle changes throughout your life.
You may think you know everything about your period, and then it all shifts. This is due to hormonal changes. When you’re a rookie with your period your cycles are often longer — a typical cycle for a teenager may be 21 to 45 days. As you age, they become more predictable and shorter, averaging from 21 to 35 days.
Expect more changes in the years before you hit menopause. This time is called perimenopause. The length of time from one period to the next may get shorter or longer, and your bleeding may become heavier or lighter. Perimenopause can last up to 10 years before you start actual menopause and no longer have periods.
Remember here, though, that these changes should be gradual. If there are unusual issues such as missing periods or very heavy bleeding, you need to see us at Women’s Health Medical Group.
- There are options other than tampons.
You now have more choices beyond tampons and pads to help deal with bleeding during your period.
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that fits inside your vagina and collects blood during your period. With a menstrual cup, you can go up to 12 hours before you need to empty it, compared with changing a tampon every 4 to 8 hours. There are also “period panties” that are super absorbent, allowing you to wear them alone on your lighter days, or with a tampon during heavier days. Reusable cloth pads are also available and can be washed and worn again.
At Women’s Health Medical Group, we help women with all aspects of womanhood, including their period. If you have questions or concerns about anything involved with Aunt Flo, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (817) 346-5336.