What your period could be telling you about your health
If you pay attention to your period, you’ll notice that it can actually tell you a lot about your health. Of course, we all go through different cycles and what’s normal for you might not be normal for someone else. Our period cycles also tend to change over the years. What’s important though Choma is for you to take note of the changes and how they might be affecting your health. It’s not always easy to notice concerning changes if you don’t know what they are, so here’s a list to help you.
Changes in vaginal discharge
Discharge is your vagina’s way of cleaning itself out, so it’s a good place to start when identifying changes in your health. Things that affect the nature of your discharge during your cycle are:
- Wet & slightly see-through discharge means you’re about to begin ovulation.
- Discharge that feels almost like egg whites means you’re now ovulating
- When it’s sticky and starting to dry up, ovulation is over (meaning an increase in the hormone progesterone)
Generally you’ll remain dry until your next period, but it’s important to know that if your discharge is smelly and has a yellow/green colour, you might have an infection and should get checked by your healthcare professional at your nearest clinic.
The hormone progesterone is what holds your uterine lining in place until it’s time for your period to begin. If you’re experiencing some bleeding even when it’s not your period, you might be low on progesterone, which is a hormone produced in the ovaries that helps to regulate your period and prepares your body for pregnancy when the time comes. The best way to be sure is to keep a calendar to track your cycle to see if this is the case, but if you’re not sure, you should get examined by a healthcare professional.
Your period blood should typically be a bright red colour Choma. Sometimes, your period blood might be a different colour and it can be concerning but it’s not always something you should be worried about. Brown blood for example is usually normal. It just means that bits of your uterine lining that didn’t leave during your last period are making their way out now. Brown blood usually occurs at the beginning and end of your period. However, if you experience brown discharge with other symptoms such as a fever, foul smell, and pain in your abdomen or painful urination then you should see your healthcare practitioner because this could be a sign of infection.
Reasons for having an irregular period can be medical - such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Hypothyroidism (when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones)- Which can be treated with hormone supplements or birth control medication.
Irregular cycles can also be caused by lifestyle conditions that you might not even know were affecting you down there, such as:
- Excessive weight gain/loss
- Eating disorders (anorexia/ bulimia)
- Increased exercise
- Emotional stress
- Birth control
- Drug use
- Breastfeeding- your period will only regulate again when you’ve stopped breastfeeding after giving birth.
Making sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet, keeping your exercise routine not too strenuous as well as reducing your stress levels can get your period back to being regular again.
For more info on why you may have missed your period, read this article: 8 Reasons you missed your period (other than pregnancy).
Something to remember if you're young
If you’ve just started getting your period, your cycle and all the hormones will take a while to settle since your body is new to this. Your period will most likely be irregular for the first few months or years, but this is normal Choma.
Part of taking ownership of your body is taking responsibility for your health and making it a priority. If you notice any changes that you might be worried about, you should go see your local healthcare provider at your nearest clinic as soon as you can to make sure it’s not a serious issue.
If you need advice or help, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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