10 commonly asked questions about periods answered

Get all your answers about menstruation here.

When it comes to periods, we have many questions, doubts and misconceptions. While your mom and friends can answer some, queries on irregular periods, heavy or scanty flow need to be answered only by an expert. Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions on menstruation by Dr Nupur Gupta, Gynaecologist and obstetrician, Well Woman Clinic, Gurgaon.

If I have periods for only 2 days, will I have problems in conceiving?

Not really, unless your periods are regular. Ideally, periods should last from three seven days with normal flow. However, if your periods are only for two days but are regular (follow the 28-day cycle of menstruation), there is no need to worry. But if your periods are irregular or you experience heavy or scanty flow, consult a gynaecologist to rule out a thyroid problem or low levels of prolactin hormone.

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Is it normal to pass clots and clumps along with menstrual bleeding?

Unlike bleeding caused due to a cut or injury, menstrual blood is slightly dark in colour. Also, the blood is mixed with the mucous secretion and cells shedding from the endometrial lining that gives it a lumpy or clot appearance. Hence, menstrual blood does have cells and blood clots. Do not worry about it.

My flow during period is very scanty, what does it mean?

Be it regular or irregular, if your flow is scanty, you should get an ultrasound of the pelvis and go for blood test to know the exact cause of the condition. Also, there are high chances that you might be suffering from lack of estrogen, a hormone necessary to regulate your menstrual cycle. To rule out your risk of various health conditions, visit a doctor.

I have heavy bleeding. I have to change my pad every two hours. Is it ok?

No, it is not a sign of a healthy individual. You should consult a gynaecologist and get your hormonal profile checked. In some cases, an ultrasound may be recommended. Although rare, genital tuberculosis is known to be the cause of heavy bleeding.

I am a 45-year-old female and experience heavy bleeding during periods. Is it because I am nearing menopause?

As you near menopause, your periods should be irregular and scanty and not heavy (as in your case). Heavy bleeding during menstruation might be due to an underlying disease or condition like cancer or pre-cancerous one, such as fibroids or polyps of the lower genital tract and uterus or hormonal imbalance. Here s what you should do if get heavy periods and feel very tired.

I get periods every 15 days (instead of the normal 28 day cycle). What should I do?

If the blood flow is light, it can be controlled with the help of proper diet and iron pills. However, if the flow is heavy, an ultrasonography should be done to diagnose abnormalities in the ovaries or uterus. Also, a blood test might be recommended to detect bleeding disorders. This can be treated with the help of hormonal pills, however, it requires a detailed examination followed by several tests to rule out possible complications.

I am 14-year-old. My periods are irregular and I have severe menstrual cramps. Should I consult a doctor?

Menstrual cramps is a normal phenomenon, which is caused due to shedding of the inner lining of the uterine wall. To deal with it, you need to eat healthy and restrict intake of certain foods like coffee, tea, chocolates, salty foods and red meat. However, irregular periods might indicate risk of PCOD (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and uterine problems. To know more about this, click here!

How often should one change their sanitary pad?

One should change their pads every six hours, and if you are using a tampon, then once every two hours. However, if you have heavy flow, you might have to change more often than those with scanty blood flow. And most important, there might be days when your pad is not used completely like during the last day of your periods, but make it a habit to change it at regular intervals to prevent infections. Here are menstrual hygiene tips that every woman must follow!

I have infrequent, heavy and long lasting periods. What should I do?

If you are overweight and have infrequent, irregular and long lasting periods, it signifies an increase in your blood levels of estrogen. Also, fat cells prevent ovaries from releasing the egg and on the other hand, the endometrial lining also thickens. If this has been going since a long time, you should visit a doctor to know your risk of suffering from are endometrial cancer.

I haven t had periods since the past 6 months and I am not pregnant. What could be the reason?

This condition is called as amenorrhea or missing periods. The gynaecological problems that might lead to PCOS, hormonal imbalance, thyroid problem and tumour or malfunctioning of pituitary glands. It can also be caused due to excessive use of contraceptive pills or due to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Even lifestyle factors like body weight and stress can lead to missed periods. Here are 15 causes of missed periods or amenorrhea.

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