When I think back to middle school sex-ed, I primarily remember scary pictures of genitalia affected by sexually transmitted diseases...
Good times, right? I would actually love to hear what all of you reading this right now went through during sex-ed!
What I DIDN'T learn was anything about my menstrual cycle, anything at all.
Thankfully, this will likely be different for our kids, as menstrual cycles are (finally) being recognized as a vital sign.
What Can Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Tell You
Your cycle can tell you about hormonal imbalances, gynecological issues, and your overall stress and diet management.
What Is A Normal Cycle?
A normal cycle has a length of 23-35 days, beginning from the first day of your period to the day before your next period.
Normal flow length is 7 days or less.
Normal product use is 3-6 pads or tampons per day.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal bleeding is bleeding or spotting between periods, heavy bleeding during your period that lasts more than 7 days or soaks through more than one tampon or pad per hour, long or short cycles, not having a period, or bleeding after menopause.
Causes for abnormal bleeding range from nutritional deficiencies, excessive energy expenditure without enough nutritional replenishment, hormone imbalances, problems around endocrine glands, medications, or other inflammatory pelvic diseases such as endometriosis.
For women who are not nearing the end of perimenopause or beginning menopause, not having a cycle is a cause for concern.
This is especially true in adolescent populations who are developing the bone mineral density that will set them up for the rest of their lives.
Lack of the available estrogen needed to ovulate and menstruate means that there is not enough estrogen available to assist in developed of bone mineral density, which is developed until age 25 or 30 and then is essentially set for life.
We also develop breast tissue and milk ducts with each menstrual cycle, which means women that have infrequent cycles will have less opportunity to develop milk ducts prior to breast feeding.
Many women experience pain with menstrual cycles. In fact, over 80% of women experience painful periods.
But did you know that this is not normal?
Painful menstruation can be the result of issues such as hormonal imbalances, pelvic inflammatory conditions, or pelvic muscle spasms.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can go a long way in helping to improve painful menstruation through trigger point release within the pelvic floor, as well as manual therapy to help mobilize abdominal structures such as the gastrointestinal tract and uterus.
If you are dealing with abnormal or painful cycles, make an appointment with us here today for help tracking your cycles and treating your menstrual pain!