First of all not all fingers are the same and so too are women. As a result, the menstrual cycles  can vary in length from 1 woman to another. It can be as short as 21 days or as long as 40 days. Another interesting thing about the menstrual cycle is that for some women it can be regular while for others it is irregular. Similarly a woman’s period also varies, lasting between 3 to 7 days. Apart from the variation in period length, the amount of blood flow also varies. Some women experience heavy blood flow while for others it can be very light. Another problem is the pain that usually accompany it.

But what exactly causes the worsen situation in some women than others? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. Underlying Medical Condition

    Endometriosis is a disorder whereby tissues that are normally suppose to line the inside of your uterus, start growing outside. These causes severe pain and menstrual irregularities. Fortunately it can be treated through hormone therapy and surgery.Other conditions which can affect your period include: Fibroid (abnormal growth inside or around the uterus) and polyps (benign growth along the linings of the uterus).

    Other underlying causes include: Sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory diseases, adenomyosis, or bleeding disorder.

  2. Age

     Perimenopause is the stage just before you reach menopause. This occurs around your 40s. During this time there are irregularities in menstrual cycle such as longer or shorter cycles, heavier or lighter menses. Menses can even stop for some months before resuming.

  3. Premenstrual Syndrome

     1 or 2 weeks just before menstruation starts, some women may experience a series of physical and emotional symptoms called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms varies from woman to woman and include pain, cramps, mood swings etc. While this can be mild for some women, for others, it can be very severe. PMS worsen with age.

  4. Physical fitness

     Overweight causes irregular and worsen periods. This is because your hormone balance is disrupted. Being physically fit plays huge role in your menstrual cycle. For example exercising can enhance your blood flow resulting to lighter periods. Exercising can also ease menstrual cramps.
    However, keep in mind that too much exercise is also bad for your menstrual cycle. This can reduce your period or results to cause your period to be completely absent. The key is to main a balance.

  5. Drinking too much caffeine and smoking cigarette

    Caffeine and cigarette causes narrowing of blood vessels. This results to a decrease in blood flow to the lining and muscles of the uterus. Consequently there is more pain and cramping.

  6. Lack of sleep and stress

     Apart from the normal stress of life, lack of sleep will also stress your body. This will affect your hormone levels and can result to shorter or longer menstrual cycle, heavier or lighter periods and can result to more cramp or pain.

  7. Use of birth control methods

     The use of birth control methods such as intrauterine device (UID) can cause heavy bleeding during your first year of usage.
    Birth control pills will also affect your period especially if you skip days without taking them or if you take more than the required dose. Changing birth control bills in quick succession will also alter your period.

  8. Be careful with what you eat

    What you eat can have a severe impact on your menstrual cycle. For example fatty foods trigger the production of prostaglandins. These chemicals cause contraction of the uterus and can increase menstrual cramp. Too much salty food should also be avoided.

When should you see a doctor? Visit our frequently asked questions on menstrual cycle and period here. For more on women’s health click here