Know your ‘Dates’

Tracking the Menses

‘Aunty’, ‘Dates’, ‘Chums’ or plain ‘periods’, no matter what you name her, it’s important that she visits you every month on time. One skipped visit, and it could have serious repercussions. Gynecologists say that a missed period is always an indication of an alarm bell. It’s your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, something unusual is happening in your system and it’s about time to straighten it out. Except of course if you are planning to conceive, then and only then a missed period could be an indication of a ‘good news’, but otherwise a missed period is always an indication of something not going good.

In fact missed periods could be deceptive especially right after delivery. During the breastfeeding phase, prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production also suppresses ovulation, as a result you don’t see your periods. But it is during this phase that you need to exercise caution, because always remember ovulation happens before menstruation so you might not know whether ovulation has happened or not. So being cautious is important if you do not want to end up with back to back pregnancies.

Though menstruation is a physiological phenomenon, but psychology too has a role in this. If you are too stressed out emotionally, chances are that you will skip your period. The stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol when produced in excess push your body to a fight or flight syndrome, as a result only the very essential bodily functions are performed and often the functioning of systems like the digestive and reproductive take a backseat. So period is skipped. However in circumstances like these, the best part is that your body comes back to normal when the root cause of the stress is eliminated.

But when stress is not the reason then a skipped period could have other serious implications like hormonal imbalances, a thyroid problem or the increasingly common gynecological issues of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or for that matter any other illnesses. So it is essential that your keep a track of the date in the month when you are expecting your periods. A normal menstrual cycle constitutes around 28-35 days, so it is imperative that once every month you ovulate and the uterine lining should be shed leading to what is known as menstruation.

In some cases, skipping a period could also be an after effect of a medication. Some birth control pills, or the emergency contraceptive pills might have an effect on your reproductive system. So if you skip your period while taking on a new medication do remember to check with your gynecologist. In fact taking new medication or no, any instance of missed period definitely needs a medical consultation if you are not sure of the cause.

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