So, what about ovulation?
Doesn’t menstruation mean I am ovulating and that I can get pregnant?
Possibly. Ovulation may begin with menarche or it may not. When there is no ovulation, you are going through anovulatory cycles.
Pregnancy it has been known to occur even before the menarche. You need to understand that menarche may happen without involving the release of ova at all. The blood flow is from the uterine tissue disintegration and that may happen without ovulation. This is why you need to realize that there are many stops where essentially anything can go wrong, resulting in menstrual irregularities.
So what are the irregularities?
Anything in menstrual cycle that is not normal is an irregularity. Here are some common definitions:
No flow: Amenorrhea
Long cycle(Infrequent): Oligomenorrhea
Short Cycle: Polymenorrhea
Heavy Flow: Menorrhagia
This is the usual nomenclature applied to menstrual irregularities. These are basically the descriptions of the irregularity. The underlying cause is the actual disease or Illness that needs to be treated. This is why an abnormality in your menses is worth following up. Sometimes they may be affected by vague circumstances ,but it is better to end up with a “don’t worry” diagnosis than a late diagnosis of something much more serious.
What are the vague / external circumstances?
These are numerous. Just to explain what these external factors can do, notice the following:
A. Early onset of menarche (earlier than 12 years of age)
1. Childhood Obesity
2. Family Conflicts
3. Absence of father figure
4. Ovarian or other tumors
B. Late onset of menarche (later than 16 years of age)
1. Close association with father / father figure
2. Large family
3. Abnormal pathology of reproductive tract
The menstrual cycle is itself affected by all these factors and more. These factors are:
1. Stress: Family related or socially induced
2. Sudden weight gain or weight loss
3. Eating or emotional disorders
4. Excessive exercising
5. Unhealthy lifestyle i.e. smoking
What possible diagnoses can cause menstrual irregularities?
There is a wide array of possible diagnoses that we can reach depending upon the type of irregularity an individual is facing. We will discuss each possible diagnosis in further detail in the later articles in the series.
Will early diagnosis save me?
Do not assume that you have something untreatable. Having time as your ally is even better. However in order to get started on the treatment, you do need a diagnosis. Getting started as soon as possible is the best option as the majority of the illnesses can be treated medically with a good prognosis.
What is a normal period?
A normal period has the following characteristics:
A normal period is Eumenorrhea.
1. This is a cycle of 28 days plus or minus 7 days
2. Bleeding of 2-7 days
3. Blood loss of 10-80 mL
When there is a deviation from this pattern, you are looking at a menstrual irregularity.
What about pain?
Some amount of pain and mid-cycle symptoms are normal. Excessive pain, intolerable pain in menstruation, called dysmenorrhea, is an irregularity.
We will discuss individual disturbances in the next article.