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The Menstrual Cycle

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Your menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle varies in every female. The majority of women have cycles that last 25 – 35 days, though having slightly shorter or longer cycles is still quite normal. Every month, it is quite common for your cycle to vary by a couple of days. To calculate the length of your cycle you count the first day you begin bleeding as day one, then the last day you count is the day before your next period starts.

Many women go through many physical and emotional changes just before and during their period. These symptoms are known as either pre-menstrual syndrome (P.M.S.) or pre-menstrual tension (P.M.T.) . Most women at some stage of their cycle will have experienced these symptoms, both P.M.S. and P.M.T. are very common.

Pre-menstrual tension (P.M.T.) and pre-menstrual syndrome (P.M.S.)

P.M.T. is the occurrence of symptoms such as depression, moodiness or anxiety, which a lot of women experience on the days leading up to their periods. These symptoms tend to disappear once the bleeding actually starts.

All women are different and some women may really suffer while others may have such minor symptoms that they do not create a problem.

When P.M.T. is associated with other symptoms such as tender breasts, a bloated stomach and stomach cramps or pain it is then called P.M.S.

To be sure that P.M.T. or P.M.S. is the cause of your symptoms especially if severe you should notice a relief from your symptoms in the week after your period.

There isn’t any specific reason why some suffer more than others from P.M.S./P.M.T. Some doctors say it is the body becoming over-sensitive to their own progesterone. Other theories are based on the individual’s life style and social pressures.

Self help

Doctors can prescribe certain drugs to help reduce some of the symptoms but the majority of these may have some side effects. Prozac – an antidepressant drug could be offered in extreme cases, but sometimes helping yourself can prove very effective and offer a lot less complications. The contraceptive pill is also a very effective in controlling a woman’s period and is also suitable for women who also need contraception.

Try:

  • Keeping a diary – this can help to avoid stressful situations during your pre-menstrual period.
  • Make time for exercise.
  • Plan your own relaxation time.
  • Talk to others to see what helps them – you will find you aren’t alone.

Alternatively, vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium have all been recommended by P.M.S./P.M.T. suffers. Some women also find that taking a recommended daily allowance (R.D.A.) of evening primrose oil can help reduce the tenderness of their breasts.

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