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Can your periods get stuck?

It's the time of the month, but where are your periods?

Written by Sandhya Raghavan |Published : November 3, 2017 1:21 PM IST

Some of us are really lucky to have our menstrual cycle work like clockwork. At the end of the 28-day cycle, we can expect Aunt Flo at our doorsteps, ready for her four-day sojourn. But sometimes, a curious thing happens. Although you feel the distinct period pain in the lower abdomen, there is no sign of your periods. The condition is very different from premenstrual cramps, when the pain starts a day or two before the periods begin. In the case of a stuck or obstructed periods, the woman starts experiencing period-like symptoms without the actual blood flow. There is a distinctive heaviness and mounting pressure from the accumulating blood in the lower abdomen.

The first sign of a "stuck" period is terrible menstrual cramps akin to those on your first day of period. The entire lower abdomen starts pulsating with pain, and in some cases, it's difficult even to stand upright. The second sign is a distended, swollen lower abdomen, which is sometimes warm to touch. The third sign is slight spotting. Women complain of finding brown, oxidised blood on the panties when the period pains start. The fourth symptom is experiencing radiating pain in the upper part of the abdomen, right below the ribcage. Sufferers distinctly feel the presence of some obstruction in the abdomen that is delaying the flow of the menstrual blood. It is only after two to three days of this ordeal that the period actually begins.

Although it is not a recognised medical condition, it is quite common among women. A simple Google search will yield many queries from worried women all over the world complaining about their periods getting stuck in the way, delaying the cycle in the process. It's understandable why women panic in such situations, but Gynaecologist Dr Maya Lulla says that the condition is completely normal and is common among young unmarried women who have never underwent childbirth. "In young women, the opening of the womb is constricted since they haven't gone through childbirth. Once they give birth, the opening widens and facilitates easy and unobstructed flow of menstrual blood. As long as you eventually get your periods, it is not something you should worry about," says Dr Lulla.

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It is important to pay attention to your diet to ease the pain and to expedite the menstrual flow. "Control your intake of salt and increase your water intake. You may face bloating or water retention during this period," she adds.

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