Author: Kemisola Ajide
I woke up around 3:00am… no, it woke me up around 3:00am; hey girl, wakie wakie, it is that time of the month. It seemed to me , it came in person, with a stick and started to hit my abdomen, errm, that doesn’t even describe it, okay, it was like something was twisting, pinching and punching my abdomen and lower back from the inside. See, I cannot still describe it. I call it the red flag, alias sister Alice. I often wonder why it cannot peacefully tell me i’m not pregnant and everyone is good. Whew!
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as “part” of a woman’s monthly cycle; there are other parts too. You probably already know a lot about menstruation, but let’s look at the other parts of your monthly cycle.
Length varies 23-35days commonly. The first day of your period is the first day of your monthly cycle. Period usually last 3-5days and in the first few days, you probably feel like I do above; this is because some hormones (I will tell you about them) in your body are fighting, twisting, pinching and stamping you from the inside hehehe. NO, the truth is that, those hormones are causing your womb to actively shed the lining that was built up in the previous menstrual cycle (it does sounds like a fight anyways).
There is a hormone called estrogen, it causes the rapid rise of two other hormones (luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone). Together, they cause the release of egg (ovum) into the fallopian tube, that process is called ovulation.
Now, most women think they ovulate on the 14th day, but ovulation varies from cycle to cycle. At ovulation, some feel a twinge of pain, but many feel no sensation at all, and that’s fine (if only menstruation can be like that anyways).
That’s when you are most likely to get pregnant! Voilà! Another busy body hormone, sister to estrogen called progesterone starts preparing, building the lining of your womb and arranging a welcome party for a fertilized egg.
Heartbreakingly, if no fertilized egg comes, sister progesterone calls on estrogen to start work! This time, it’s for you to pay for breaking their hearts. If they are nice to you, you are lucky, if not…you are still lucky lol. At this stage, you may get symptoms of premenstrual tension; breast tenderness, bloating, irritability…you can name the rest.
Preparing for the next period
Following the tragic effect of no fertilized egg on these hormones, level of estrogen and progesterone decreases (no more ginger and swags). All the preparation and welcoming party parole goes down the drain. The thick womb lining that has been built starts to break down, and your body sheds the lining (this story is touching). This is the start of your period and the beginning of your next menstrual cycle.
You live ‘reddishly’ ever after….. Raising the red flag!
When to worry…
- Your periods suddenly stop for more than a 60days and you are not pregnant
- You bleed between periods; after a certain menstruation, you bleed before the next one.
- Your period suddenly becomes inconsistent after having been regular. Note, it’s okay for your periods to be erratic in the first two years of your menstruation.
- You bleed more than seven days
- Pain is okay, but only when its unusual and severe.
Photo credits: WikiHow
Kemisola Ajide is a guest writer; holds a bachelors’ degree in Physiology and masters in Public Health. She is the founder and coordinator of Frontider Health Foundation.
Twitter handle: @khemysol
Facebook: Ajide Chayil Kemisola