Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Do you think you know all about your period? Women have around 450 periods during their lifetime. This implies that you have plenty of chances to learn all about it. Period can always manage to surprise you! Read on for some facts about your periods that you didn’t know.

5 Facts About Your Periods That You Didn’t Know

Periods are a natural phenomenon but many women may experience various complaints during this phase. However, knowing about your period can help you deal with it better. Here are some facts about your periods that you didn’t know.

Period Changes Throughout A Woman’s Life

Just when one feels like they can predict exactly when their period is going to occur, everything changes. Hormone shifts are responsible for causing these period changes throughout a woman’s lifetime. When a woman first gets her period, their cycles can be longer, meaning more time can pass between the starting of one period to the next. A typical cycle for a teenage girl can be of 21 to 45 days. Over time, the cycles can become shorter and more predictable, averaging to around 21 to 35 days. This is one of the most important facts about your periods that you didn’t know.

Hormone alterations which occur during perimenopause, which are the years before menopause when a woman’s body begins to make less estrogen, can cause unpredictable changes. The time between periods can get shorter or longer, and the bleeding during period can become heavier or lighter. This phase can last for around 10 years before menopause begins and one stops getting their period for good. Gradual life changes are normal. But sudden and unusual issues like missed period or very heavy bleeding are not. Women should contact a doctor if they notice such unusual changes.

Women Can Get Pregnant During Their Period

Period does not protect a woman from pregnancy. Although surprising, this too is one of the worth noting facts about your periods that you didn’t know. Some women can bleed when their ovaries release an egg every month, i.e. during ovulation. They can mistake this for their period. A woman’s fertility peaks when she ovulates. So having sex during this time can actually make a woman more likely to get pregnant. One can ovulate before their period is over or within a few days after the bleeding stops. Since sperm can survive in a female’s body for up to 3 days, having sex during period too can lead to conception. Regardless of the time of the month, a condom or other form of birth control should be used to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

The Period That Occurs While On The Pill Is Not A 'True' Period

Bleeding can occur during the week in which a woman takes contraceptive pills. However, this is not a regular period but is technically the “monthly withdrawal bleeding.” It is necessary to know such facts about your periods that you didn’t know.

Normally, ovulation occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle. If the egg released by the ovaries does not fertilize, the hormone levels drop leading to shedding of the lining inside the uterus, and cause period. However, birth control pills prevent ovulation. With most types of contraceptives, hormones need to be taken for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of pills without them. Although these pills prevent a female’s body from releasing the egg, they do not keep it from creating the lining of the uterus all the month.

The period-like bleeding during the 4th week is the body’s reaction to the lack of hormones from the last week of the pill.

Pads and Tampons Are Not The Only Available Choices

One of the other facts about your periods that you didn’t know, is that there are many options you can choose from during periods. Menstrual cup is a flexible cup-shaped menstrual hygiene product which is fitted inside the vagina to collect blood during period. Period panties are super-absorbent, and can be worn on their own on the lighter days or with a tampon during heavier times. Reusable cloth pads can be cleaned, washed and worn again. They are cost effective and also create less waste. In some cases, these also give a woman more time between changes. For example, one needs to change a tampon every 4 to 8 hours, but they may be able to hold up to 12 hours with a menstrual cup before emptying it. A woman can find which of these menstrual products works best for them with some trial and error.

PMS is Still A Mystery

Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is also one of the facts about your periods that you didn’t know. Every woman is different but for most, PMS is a fact of life. Sluggishness, breakouts, bloating, cravings, and mood swings are experienced by many women, 1 or 2 weeks before their period start. However, the exact cause of PMS is still not known. A mix of hormone changes during menstrual cycle, chemical changes in the brain, and other emotional issues like depression, can worsen PMS. Even when a female gets her period, the rollercoaster can continue.

A study found that period-related pains like bloating, cramps, headaches and backaches can cloud a female’s thinking, because the pain can make it more difficult for her to focus on the tasks at hand. However, one can still do complete the tasks but with a bit more effort. PMS is best controlled by making certain lifestyle changes like getting about 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week, sleeping for 8 hours per night, and avoiding smoking. Even loading the diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limiting the intake of salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can help ease PMS. When PMS negatively affects the quality of a woman’s life and causes symptoms like anxiety or depression, it is necessary to seek medical advice. A more serious condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can be present which needs to be addressed, medically.

While these are some of the facts about your periods that you didn’t know, women may experience varying symptoms before, during and after periods. While most problems can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and adequate rest, for any concerns that affect your daily routine or repeatedly bother you, it is best to take a medical opinion.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 26, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest