What is periods/menstruation?:

A period is the regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. It occurs monthly and an average cycle can last between 3 to 6 days..

How does it occur?

This occurs when a woman's body releases tissue it no longer needs. This tissue comes from the uterus, which is where a baby (fetus) can develop in the female body. Every month or so, the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn't get fertilized, that lining is released from the blood.

Why does it happen?

The menstrual cycle happens due to the rise and fall of hormones. This cycle results inthe thickening of the lining of the uterus, and the growth of an egg, (which is required for pregnancy). The egg is released from an ovary around day fourteen in the cycle, the thickened lining of the uterus provides nutrients to an embryo after implantation. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is released in the form of blood which we call as menstruation.

What age does this happens?

It starts when a girl reaches puberty around the age of 10 to 14 years and stops around the age of 45 and that phase is known as menopause.

What is Puberty?

Puberty is the time in life when a boy or girl becomes sexually mature. It is a process that usually happens between ages 10 to14 for girls and ages 12 to16 for boys. It causes physical changes, and affects boys and girls differently.

Are cramps normal?

Yes, it is normal to have mild cramps during your periods.
It happens because of uterine contractions. The uterus is a muscle that tightens and relaxes which can cause cramp-like pain. But if the pain gets unbearable or is more than what you usually feel then you should consult the doctor.

What is the average menstruation cycle?

TThe day count for menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstruation when blood starts to come out of the vagina. On an average it is between 27-29 days.
It may vary for different women but that should be consistent every month.

What is a Sanitary Napkin?

Sanitary pad, which is also known as sanitary napkin or menstrual pad, is a thin pad made of absorbent material that absorbs the menstrual fluid during menstruation, while she is recovering from vaginal surgery, for lochia (post-birth bleeding), after an abortion,or in any other situation where it is necessary to absorb a flow of blood from the vagina.
Sanitary pads come in different shapes and sizes, with different capacity to absorb for days of heavy and light menstrual bleeding.

For how long does the Menstruation last?

The average menstruation last anywhere between 3-6 days. But again it varies from women to women.

How to use a sanitary napkin?

Sanitary pad is worn between the vulva and the underwear. Most sanitary pads come with easy to follow usage instructions. In most cases pads have adhesives that stick to the panties, while others have wings that wrap under the panties to keep the pad in place.

How to dispose a used Sanitary napkin?

After use, a disposable sanitary Napkin should be wrapped in a news paper or waste paper and put in a garbage bin. Please note, that you should never flush the Sanitary Napkin in the toilet as it may clog the drainage.

How to maintain the hygiene during menstruation?

You can take the following hygiene measures during menstruation:
. Take a bath or shower at least once a day.
. Use clean undergarments and change them regularly.
. Change pads or tampons regularly.
. Wash the genital area with plain water (no soap) after each use of toilet and even after urination.
. Keep the area between the legs dry, otherwise you may experience chafing.
. It is very important to remember that vagina has its own self cleaning mechanism and an external cleaning agent like deodorant or soap should not be used inside it.

What to do when you get your first menstruation?

It is better that you should be informed beforehand about menstruation, this will help you to understand it without fear, shame and embarrassment.
Don't panic, when you get your first period, you should talk about it with your parents or any other adult that you can trust, such as an elder sister or a teacher. They will support you and provide you with necessary information and sanitary products to manage your periods.

Why do women have mood swings during Menstruation?

Mood swings also known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) could occur due to changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle.
These changing hormone levels may affect some women more than others. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved. Though stress and emotional problems, like depression do not cause PMS, but they may make it worse. Some other possible causes include:
. Low levels of vitamins and minerals
. Eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause you to retain (keep) fluid
. Drinking alcohol and caffeine, which may alter your mood and energy level

Is it normal to have foul smell during periods?

Yes, if it isn't serious and doesn't change abruptly.
The vaginal odor changes all the time, varying throughout your cycle and naturally becoming pungent like rotten meat during your period.
However, if you notice a sharp change in the smell of your menstrual odor, it is best to contact your physician. This is especially important if the smell is associated with irritation, itching, watering, clumpy discharge or pain lasting for several days. These can be symptoms of a more serious condition.

I get very light flow on my periods and it lasts only about 2-3 days. Is it normal?

The days and the flow of a menstruation cycle differ from women to women. A three day period is normal. Women who have always had light, short menstrual periods need not worry. But if you have had a longer period in the past and has suddenly become short is a cause for concern and you should see a doctor.

What is vaginal discharge and is it normal?

This is normal and is caused by the changing level of hormones in a girl's body. This discharge helps to keep the vagina healthy. Normal vaginal fluids can vary. It might be thin and slightly sticky to thick and gooey. They can be clear, white or off-white in color. The amount of discharge can also vary depending upon your menstrual cycle. Normal discharge might have a slight odor (smell) and should never cause itching or burning. Problems like itching, a strong odor, or a change in color (such as brown, gray, or green) indicate that you may have a vaginal infection and needs to see a doctor

When should you visit a gynecologist?

Following are some of the scenarios where you should consult a gynecologist:
a) When you have missed your periods.
b) When you are have abnormal pain which is unbearable and different to what you usually get on every cycle.
c) There is any change from your usual menstruation cycle, like you have suddenly started to get heavy/ very less blood flow compared
d) Your periods last for more than 7 days.
e) When you notice bleeding between your periods.
f) You are have abnormal vaginal discharge,(too much discharge, it has a very foul smell or is darker in color)
g) You experience itching in or around your vagina or have a burning sensation
while passing urine, These could be the signs of urinary infection or in few cases STDs.