Having back pains, abdomen cramps, pimples and moodiness following a monthly period can bother us very much, especially when you’re trying to conceive. However, many of us did not realize that our menstruation is actually the window into our fertility by helping us track our cycles, estimate when we are most fertile, and providing us clues to our chances of conceiving.
The length of your cycle, how heavy your menstruation flow is, and how frequent you are getting your period are all affected by the hormones that regulate your cycle, help you conceive, and maintain a healthy pregnancy. However, the hormone levels may become imbalance due to underlying medical conditions, stress, or extreme changes in diet that will disturb the menstrual cycle.
Here, we’ve highlighted several common issues women face regarding their monthly cycle to help you know when to consult a doctor about how your menstruation could be affecting your chances to get pregnant.
The causes of prolonged menstruation
A typical menstruation cycle is about 28 to 30 days and it is normal to have a plus-minus of 3 to 4 days. The menstruation usually last for 3 to 7 days. So what could be the causes of prolonged menstruation?
The most common endocrine disorder is luteal insufficiency which causes reduction in progesterone secretion. It often presents with prolonged menses with low flow and dark in colour. This may affect your chances of pregnancy, and even if it’s successful, there may be a high chance of miscarriage.
Taking certain drugs can also lead to prolonged menstruation – such as taking birth control pills, psychotropic drugs, etc. It is best to control the intake of drugs before and after menstruation so as not to affect the bleeding period. If you are on medication, speak to your doctor if your prescription is interrupting your menstruation cycle.
Gynaecological diseases are also one of the reasons for prolonged menstruation. This includes cervicitis, uterine polyps, uterine fibroids, cervical erosion, endometritis, and endometriosis. This type of menses usually presents itself in a spotting form. In this case, it is necessary to seek medical advice to actively treat the primary disease to solve the issue.
What can you do?
Women with prolonged menses should take the following precautionary steps:
- Maintain a regular pace of life and avoid overworking.
- Pay attention to mood regulation and avoid excessive stress or mood swings.
- Eat healthy foods and focus on eating foods that are rich in iron in nutrition such as leafy vegetables and red meat.
- Develop good hygiene habits – such as washing the vulva area at least twice a day with warm water only.
- Pick up abnormal bleeding pattern and seek medical attention.
You should also adjust your diet to improve your menstrual cycle:
- It is recommended to have light meals – avoiding spicy, salty and cold foods.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent constipation.
- Avoid sugary drinks, cakes, brown sugar or candies to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
- Instead, eat food with high fibre which can promote release of certain hormones which can help in the regulation of menstruation.
- Eat enough protein (i.e. meats, eggs, tofu and soy products) to replace the ones that you have lost through menstruation.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. The caffeine content in certain drinks can increase anxiety. Instead, opt for warm, calming barley or rice tea.
Your menstruation cycle reflects your health. The healthier your lifestyle, the calmer your experience will be. Being healthy also increases your chance of getting pregnant. Therefore, if you notice you have any abnormal menstruation, it is recommended to consult a doctor to get it treated immediately.