It is that time of the month.As if fulfilling a mysterious covenant with the universe, every healthy woman of reproductive age has to shed some blood.
The walls of her uterus will come down every month. They will slough off and thin out. It is not as easy as it sounds though; a woman would feel like her lower abdomen is under a mad man’s grip.
“That is perfectly normal,” says Dr Jaqueline Kitulu of Jamko Health Clinic and Laboratories. That is just to say that every healthy woman needs a monthly date with this ritual; not in a sadistic way – every episode is a testimony of good health.
Yet, many a weary woman wishes that she could live free of all the menstrual kerfuffle. We can’t blame them; only they know the pain of shedding that blood.
On the other hand, one ought to worry when she misses her menses. It would be indicative that the woman is pregnant, Kitulu says, “or something else is amiss.”
At the top of her mind, the problem could be hormonal. The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism. It also interacts with other organ systems to maintain normal body functions.
“If something is wrong with the thyroid gland, it would mean that its functions are hampered. Thyroid imbalance – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism – would have implications on menstruation,”Kitulu adds.
Some cases could as well come as the result of polycystic ovary symptoms (PCOS). This condition is equally provoked by hormonal imbalance.
PCOS presents with altered levels of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. This condition can permanently block menstruation. This condition may express with physical symptoms such as hair growing on the face and on the chest. Infertility too occurs.
If you are using certain types of birth control, Kitulu observes, missing your menses may be a harmless side effect of such measures. Hormonal methods like injections and pills – as well as implants – will cause lack of menses. This, the doctor adds, is not exactly something to worry about.
One may continue missing menses after stopping birth control, but it should resume after a few months.
If you are 45 or older, menopause is expected. It is a sign that those reproductive pockets can no longer participate in baby making. But there is a group of women who undergo early menopause – with reflective symptoms to boot.
But then again, women who live through heavy exercise routines are likely to miss their menses. A punishing exercise regimen alters hormones in the body. Thus, it is not exactly abnormal for a professional athlete to miss menstrual flow.
Finally, menstruation is dependent on the state of a woman’s health, as well as her BMI (Body Mass Index). Women who are anorexic will almost certainly miss their menses. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered unhealthy.
Women within BMI ranges of below 18.5 may miss menstruation, but should go back to healthy shedding of blood once their health improve.
Under no circumstances should a woman assume missing menses is normal. “It is not normal; you should question why you have missed your menses. There could be an underlying problem,” Kitulu cautions.
Put simply, that monthly blood flow (and pain) is a necessary evil!
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