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Why Getting Your Period Regularly Is Great – By Candice Chirwa, Minister of Menstruation

We all know that our periods have a reputation. Our periods make us bloated, gives us cramping, and basically causes a war in our uteruses for one week every month. During these moments, we may often feel that this is the worst experience ever, but surprisingly your period is doing some great stuff for your body. It’s important to understand that no two people are the same, and no two periods are the same, but there are some things that we can broadly say are ‘normal’ and others which may require you to see a medical expert about. I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes but believe me when I say it is important that your menstrual cycle is regular.

Let’s define the menstrual cycle first. Every month, your entire body prepares to get pregnant. Your ovaries release an egg causing hormones to rise and fall. This is your menstrual cycle. It starts on the first day of your last period and ends on the first day of your next period. Though the average cycle is 28 days long, anything between 21 and 35 days is considered normal. I remember my first visit to my gynecologist and being asked if my cycles were regular. I could always count on my period coming predictably. However, if regular menstrual cycles were meant to indicate “normal in length”, I did not answer properly. At that time in my life, as a very stressed out 25-year-old, my cycle did not fall into the “regular” cycle. My menstrual cycle fell within the 36 – 40 days range. My periods came every month, but they were too far apart to be called normal. Once I came off the birth control pill and moved onto the Copper IUD, my menstrual cycle shifted and I now experience a 30 day menstrual cycle. Having conversations with my gynae about how your period can indicate your health was a life changer for me. Having a regular menstrual cycle and period tells you that your hormones are in balance. We often hear that a “regular” cycle is 28 days long and many women are like clockwork this way. However, a cycle lasting anywhere from 21-45 days if you’re regular is also perfectly normal. This is a good indicator that your reproductive health and hormonal balance are in good shape. If you are trying to have a baby, you can better track your fertility cycles when your period is regular. That time of the month reveals a lot about how your body is functioning, and if there’s anything you can do to help it out. For example, being overweight, underweight or under extreme stress might prevent your period from arriving, also what you eat on your period can have an impact on how you experience cramps (hot tip, ditch the caffeine and dairy products).

Having your period regularly is the ultimate excuse for self-care. It is essentially a monthly reminder from your uterus to take a break and do something that you really enjoy, guilt-free. For me, a box of donuts, my period blanket and watching tv series is how I reset. Knowing when your period is coming, means you can plan self-care days and use the opportunity to rest and recover. Timing is everything and this is certainly true with our menstrual cycles as we experience fluctuating levels of our main hormones: estrogen and progesterone. When I pay attention to my period and the regularity of my menstrual cycle, it helps me to learn more about my on and off days. I can identify my best days of increased energy for exercise and fitness which improves my overall emotional and physical wellness. By being in-sync (mind the pun) with our individual cycles we can better know what to expect ourselves on certain days and prioritize how we want to use our energy levels for positive results.

All of these benefits require you to know when your last period began, or how long it lasted. Tracking your menstrual cycle can help you understand what’s normal for you and identify important changes such as a missed period or unpredictable menstrual bleeding. While menstrual cycle irregularities usually are not serious, sometimes they can signify health issues. Keep in mind that use of certain types of contraception, such as birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs) will alter your menstrual cycle. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about what to expect.

Be sure to consult your health care provider if:

  • Your periods suddenly stop for more than 90 days and you’re not pregnant
  • Your periods become erratic after having been regular
  • You bleed for more than seven days
  • You bleed more heavily than usual or soak through more than one pad or tampon every hour or two
  • Your periods are less than 21 days
  • You bleed between periods
  • You develop severe pain during your period
  • You suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons

Therefore, tracking your period via period apps is important as it allows you to plan and work around important dates such as holidays or work trips. You’ll also know when you ovulate which can help you determine whether you want to get pregnant. Pregnancy is possible during the days leading up to and after ovulation, so you want to be careful. The predicted ovulation day can serve as a way for you to get a better understanding of your fertility. Your menstrual cycle is a direct indicator of your overall health, and periods are your body’s way of telling you that things are working as they should. Having an extremely unpredictable or heavy period or skipping a period can indicate an existing underlying condition. Track your cycle and this will help you recall things that you might otherwise forget when speaking with your healthcare provider.

Signed,

Your Minister Of Menstruation!

Salome Menstrual Pain

Managing menstrual pain & discomfort

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This product may be a complementary medicine and/or not have been evaluated and verified by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for its quality, safety or intended use. Use of this product is therefore not intended to compensate for diagnosis, treatment, cure, or mitigation of medical conditions and must not substitute the obtaining of medical advice from a registered health professional for any health or health-related conditions.

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