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General Practice 2023

Menstruação: what é, how long it lasts, and common changesçõ

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Menstruação: what é, how long it lasts, and common changesçõ
Menstruação: what é, how long it lasts, and common changesçõ

Menstruation is the loss of blood from the vagina in a period that lasts between 3 to 8 days. Bleeding during menstruation is normal and is part of a woman's menstrual cycle.

The first period occurs at puberty, around age 12, although it can vary from girl to girl. Thereafter, it should appear every month until menopause, which occurs around age 50.

During pregnancy, menstruation does not occur, however the woman may have a small bleeding for 1 or 2 days, especially in the beginning of pregnancy, pink or brown, like coffee grounds. Learn what can cause menstruation in pregnancy.


How to know if your period is near

When menstruation is close, a woman may have some signs and symptoms, the main ones being:

  • More swollen and painful breasts;
  • Abdominal swelling;
  • Mood Variations;
  • Tiredness;
  • Headache;
  • Cramping;
  • Increased appetite.

In addition, some women may have diarrhea before and during menstruation, as during this period there is an increase in the release of prostaglandins, which are substances responsible for muscle contractions, which can affect the intestine, resulting in increased intestinal movement and causing diarrhea. Check out other signs that your period is approaching.

Calculate your next period

To find out your next period date, enter your data into the calculator below:

When the first period happens

The first period, also known as menarche, varies from girl to girl due to hormonal changes in each body, however, it is more common for it to happen around 12 years of age. However, some girls may have their first period between the ages of 13 and 15 or earlier, between the ages of 9 and 10. Learn more about your first period.

How long does it last

The duration of menstruation also varies from one woman to another, but the most common is that it lasts between 3 to 8 days. Usually the next period starts around the 28th day after the first day of the previous period, but this period can vary according to the woman's menstrual cycle.

It is important to consider the 1st day of menstruation when there is a small amount of bleeding, even if it is pink and in small amounts. Some girls have this type of flow for 2 or 3 days, and from then on the period becomes more intense. Understand better how the menstrual cycle works.

Main menstrual changes

Menstruation can have some changes due to female hormone levels circulating in the body, increased amount of circulating testosterone, thyroid changes, stress, pregnancy or changes in the ovary or uterus, for example. Some of the major changes related to menstruation are:

  • Delay in menstruation,which may be a consequence of switching or stopping the use of continuous contraceptive use or be related to very restricted diet, practice of very intense and excessive physical activity, for example;
  • Dark menstruation,which is usually related to hormonal changes, and may also be influenced by the woman's stress levels, sexually transmitted infection or be a sign of endometriosis;
  • Missing period,which may be associated with pregnancy, stress, eating disorders or thyroid changes, for example;
  • Irregular menstruation, which is more common at the beginning and end of reproductive life, and may also occur as a consequence of changing contraceptives, hormonal variations;
  • Menstruation with clots, which is usually normal and is usually indicative of hormonal changes, however it can also be a sign of diseases such as fibroids and endometriosis.

In the presence of alterations in menstruation, it is important that the gynecologist is consulted so that exams are carried out to identify the cause of the alteration, initiating, then, the most appropriate treatment. Learn about other menstrual changes.

Common questions about menstruation

Next, we clarify the main doubts about menstruation:

1. What color is normal menstruation?

The color of menstruation changes throughout the days of menstruation, and can vary between bright red and light brown. However, there are also times when a woman has darker menstruation, like coffee grounds, or lighter, without this signifying any he alth problem.

In most cases, changes in menstruation color are related to how long the blood is in contact with the air. Thus, a period that has been on the tampon longer is usually darker.

2. Is it possible to get pregnant while menstruating?

Although difficult, it is possible to get pregnant by having intimate contact while menstruating. This is because hormone production can vary in each woman, and ovulation can occur even during the menstrual period.

3. Is late period always a sign of pregnancy?

Changes in the start date of menstruation are usually caused by changes in a woman's hormone levels. Therefore, delay in menstruation is not always a sign of pregnancy, and may indicate other situations such as excessive stress, excessive consumption of coffee or changes in hormone-producing organs, such as the pituitary, hypothalamus or ovaries. In case of menstrual delay of more than 10 days, you should take a pregnancy test or go to the gynecologist.

4. Do women who live very closely menstruate at the same time?

As hormone production depends on routine factors such as diet and stress, women who spend a lot of time together tend to experience the same external factors that influence the menstrual cycle, which ends up causing hormone production and the season of menstruation are similar between them.

5. Do all women have PMS?

PMS, or Premenstrual Tension, is a set of symptoms that appear in women about 1 to 2 weeks before menstruation. Although very common, PMS only occurs in about 80% of women and therefore does not affect all menstruating women.

6. Can heavy menstrual flow cause anemia?

In general, heavy flow is not a reason to suffer from anemia, as it usually only occurs when menstrual losses are really very high, which happens only when there are diseases causing the problem, such as uterine fibroids and ectopic pregnancy. Thus, a woman should only be concerned when her period lasts more than 7 days, if her menstrual cycle is less than 21 days, or if she spends more than 15 pads in each menstrual period. See causes and treatment for prolonged menstruation.

7. Does menstruation stop in the pool or in the sea?

When a woman enters the pool or the sea, menstruation continues to occur, however, the presence of water in the intimate region reduces body temperature and also causes an increase in pressure, which can make it difficult for blood to come out. However, after getting out of the water it is possible for menstruation to come down quickly, just because it has been accumulating inside the vaginal canal.

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