In addition to PMS, women can experience various other kinds of problems during or because of periods. These include pain, heavy bleeding and delayed or skipped periods, or even the absence of periods after a certain age.
What is important to note here is that what is normal is very different from woman to woman. What is a normal cycle for one may not be the same for another. So, you need to monitor and understand your own body and what your cycle is all about. You can then set your own barometer for what is normal, and it will be easy for you to catch anomalies if and when they happen.
Some common problems in menstruation are:
Amenorrhea – This is when young girls do not start their period until a later age, or if they do not have it for a period of 90 days or more.
Dysmenorrhea - Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin, which is not a severe disease, but can give you painful cramps. If the pain does not subside as you get older, you could have a condition like uterine fibroids or endometriosis, and you should seek professional help.
Abnormal uterine bleeding – If you see some spotting or are bleeding between periods, or for more days than usual, then this is an abnormality. Even if your flow is heavier than usual, you need to check why that is happening.
Heavy periods - Excessive flow, and periods longer than the average of 5-7 days, are also a common problem. This tends to happen when you first start the period, but the cycle will settle down over time. A proper check-up will alleviate any worries that you may have.
The vagina is a delicate and sensitive part of the body. During menstruation, it works to expel unwanted blood and uterine lining out of the body. It is thus important to keep it clean, to avoid any kind of bacterial infection. This includes washing it properly and changing sanitary napkins during the day.
Some tips to maintain hygiene during your periods:
Choose an appropriate method of sanitation - There are several options available today when it comes to your periods. You can opt for sanitary napkins, tampons or menstrual cups. Your choice should depend on your flow, and your lifestyle needs.
Test your skin tolerance – When choosing a pad, you need to make sure you are not allergic to the material. A good way to get used to it is to wear a panty liner every day. Panty liners also serve to absorb spotting when it happens and protect your underwear from stains. They also keep you fresh and clean from daily vaginal discharge, if you experience any.
Change your pads regularly - Menstrual blood can be easily contaminated once it is out of your body, so it is important for you to change the pad during the day, even if your flow is light. The warmth and moisture are a breeding ground for bacteria, and changing pads every six hours or so will keep you clean and dry.
Wash regularly and thoroughly – Since blood is fluid, it can be easily lodged on the skin around the vagina. This needs to be washed away properly so that bacteria cannot grow there. Use warm water and rinse well regularly to keep your vaginal area clean. Also, always wash the area from the vagina to the anus, and not the other way around, to avoid transfer of bacteria from the rectum to the vaginal area.
Use proper vaginal hygiene products – The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and washes itself from the inside, so make sure not to insert any cleaning products or douches into the vagina. Vaginal washes, however, use a mild formula for this sensitive area, and with warm water, can help clean the outer area easily and properly.