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Top 10 questions about your menstrual cycle. Get the facts!

Top 10 Questions About Your Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle and your period are the most important aspect of your fertility. These very important functions of a woman's body regulate ovulation and your hormones and have major influences on your fertility health.

You may feel confused or concerned about your menstrual cycle and what your body is trying to tell you, so I have put together my most frequently asked questions and the answers to help you understand your body a little more.

  1. How long is a menstrual cycle? That is a very good question and my first answer would be – How long is a piece of string! However, in all seriousness, this does very much depend. A ‘normal’ menstrual cycle is 28 days in length, day 1 being the first day of your period. However, in reality, very few women have a regular 28-day cycle. A cycle may vary from 25-35 days in length, however, for women suffering from hormonal conditions such as PCOS, cycles can be much longer.   

 

2.  What is Spotting?   Spotting is any bleeding from the vagina that is not due to a woman’s monthly period. If spotting is experienced it is generally due to one of the following – infection, hormonal disturbance or pregnancy and it is important to see your doctor if you experience regular spotting. It is also common for women to experience some spotting a day or two before the period starts completely, this may not be anything to be worried about but if you are concerned or trying to conceive it is best to discuss this with your doctor.

Another cause of spotting is an early warning sign of a miscarriage or threatened miscarriage. If you know you are pregnant and are concerned about this, see you, doctor, straight away.

3. What causes bleeding between periods?  This may occur for the reasons stated above but may also be caused by other aspects. Some women routinely experience spotting when they ovulate and this may also occur at the time the embryo implants into the lining of the womb, however not all women will have this.

 

4. Why do I have brown discharge?  The majority of women will notice some brown discharge at the start and the end of their period. This is generally caused by old blood, as the lining of the womb starts to shed and then as it finishes at the end of a period. However, if this bleeding is accompanied by an offensive smell and/or occurs at any other time in the cycle, you should discuss this with your doctor.

 

5. Can you ovulate during your period?  Although rare, it is possible to ovulate during your period. This is especially the case if you have short cycles and long periods. The good news is that you can still get pregnant even if you ovulate during your period. For that reason, if you have short cycles you may want to start having regular sex early on in your cycle.

 

6. Why do I have fertile cervical mucus tinged with blood?  Some women may notice that their cervical mucus or EWCM (egg white cervical mucus) is slightly tinged with blood at the time of ovulation. This is very normal and can indicate that ovulation has occurred. However, this is very subjective as the tinged blood could be there for other reasons such as trauma due to vigorous sex etc. Not all women will have this at ovulation; so don’t worry if you don’t notice it.

 

7. What can cause heavy and long periods? Heavy and long periods can be very draining. They are often caused by hormonal imbalance due to advancing age, however, they can be caused by fibroids in younger women. Endometriosis can also cause painful and heavy periods.

 

8. What classifies a heavy period?  Many women feel that their periods are heavy as when blood is on a tampon or sanitary pad it spreads out and looks as though it’s a lot. However, in reality, women lose only a small amount during their period. For some women, however, they can bleed more than normal and this may be accompanied by clots. Generally, a heavy period is one that is classified as requiring sanitary protection to be changed every hour or more frequently.

 

9. How do I know if I’ve miscarried or if it was just a heavy period?  Miscarriage is incredibly common. 1 in 3 of us will experience a miscarriage and probably more will experience an early miscarriage and not even know. An early miscarriage may be only slightly heavier than your normal period or no heavier at all. However, if your period is heavier than normal and accompanied by clots which is unusual for you then this may be a miscarriage. If you are bleeding heavily and in pain, it is vital to see your doctor.

 

10. Why has my period not returned after stopping contraception?  After stopping certain types of contraception such as the injection, it can take a few months for your period to return. However with the majority of contraception your period and therefore your fertility should return to normal after a few months. If your period doesn’t return after this time, see your doctor.

This blog was written by:  Kate Davies, Fertility Nurse and Coach at Your Fertility Journey.

To find out more how OvuSense can help you understand your cycle better visit us here:  ovusense.com