A woman’s monthly cycles are perfectly designed by nature to prepare the body for impregnation. At the beginning of a cycle, before ovulation, the brain releases hormones that instruct the uterus to build a thick, blood-rich lining that will act as a temporary incubator for an embryo should the monthly egg be released and fertilized. When impregnation doesn’t happen, progesterone levels and estrogen levels begin to drop, falling abruptly at the end of the cycle, around day 26, and stimulating the uterine muscles to contract and release their bloody lining. This is the monthly menstrual bleeding also known as menstrual period.
Role of Estrogen and Progesterone in menstrual cycle:
- Estrogen is responsible for building up the lining of the uterus.
- Progesterone increases after an ovary releases an egg (ovulation) at the middle of the cycle. This helps the estrogen keep the lining thick and ready for a fertilized egg.
Menstrual Cycle: The menstrual cycle begins from Day 1 of bleeding to Day 1 of the next time of bleeding. Although the average cycle is 28 days, it is perfectly normal to have a cycle that is as short as 21 days or as long as 35 days.
- A teen's cycles tend to be long (up to 45 days), growing shorter over several years.
- Between ages 25 and 35, most women's cycles are regular, generally lasting 21 to 35 days.
- Around ages 40 to 42, cycles tend to be the shortest and most regular. This is followed by 8 to 10 years of longer, less predictable cycles until menopause.
Factors that affect menstrual cycle: Taking birth control pills, losing a lot of weight, or being overweight. Stress or excessive exercise can also change your cycle. Pregnancy is the most common cause of a missed period.
How to have a healthy menstrual cycle:
- Take a high quality women’s multi-vitamin that is especially formulated to assist menstrual cycles. Many of these supplements contain vitamins, minerals and herbs that women need to balance and regulate menstrual cycle.
- Doing regular exercise, exercise helps improves blood flow and produce pain fighting endorphins.
- Practice regular meditation to eliminate stress.
- Eating food that contains omega-3 fatty acid. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids contains anti-inflammatory properties.
- Eat high fiber food, fiber rich food can help prevent constipation and a feeling of fullness.
- Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- If there is pain apply heat to your abdomen with a heating pad or hot water bottle, or take a warm bath. Heat improves blood flow and may decrease pelvic pain. Nonprescription pain relievers can also help reduce some symptoms.
Herbs that help balance hormone:
- Saw palmetto - assists with ovarian dysfunction
- Dong quai - regulates cycles and reduces painful symptoms