Women shouldn't "curse" their periods, they should celebrate
them! Why? Because they are a positive sign of health â€”and
not just of gynecological health, but of general health.
Getting your period is a minor miracle of biology. It means
that your pituitary gland (in the brain) must send chemical messengers to your ovaries
at the right time, and when your ovaries get the message, they must produce their
hormones on schedule. In order to make and store the hormones, you must have a critical
level of cholesterol and of body fat. So, if you get a period, you know that some
important things are right with your body.
Periods are not only a sign of gynecological health; they
tell you that you are producing adequate amounts of the very important hormone,
estrogen. Hundreds of cellular functions throughout the body are affected by estrogen.
When estrogen levels are too low, women may get menopause-like symptoms: hot flashes,
urinary frequency, and vaginal dryness. More importantly, young women, who are in
the bone-building phase of their lives, need estrogen and other elements for this
to occur. If estrogen levels stay too low for months or years, you may begin to
LOSE bone, particularly in your hips and spine. Estrogen also has many protective
effects in arteries and skin and there is growing evidence of benefits to the brain.
Periods also tell you that you are probably producing enough
androgens, including testosterone (which is often thought of as a male hormone but
is normally produced in females, too). Too little testosterone can negatively affect
bone, muscle strength, and sex drive and response.
It is important to know how to deal with periods. When you
first start menstruating you may have an irregular menstrual pattern. This is normal.
It may take as long as two years before it regulates. You may wonder why a woman,
who already has a regular cycle, might experience menstrual irregularity, or why
she might stop menstruating altogether. The most common reason for cessation of
periods is pregnancy. But if this is not the situation, there are many other conditions
that may be to blame. Some common causes are anorexia or even prolonged, intense
dieting and/or very intense exercising. As mentioned above, women need a certain
amount of body fat for adequate hormone levels; being ultra lean can create medical
problems for women. Other causes of lack of periods, such as thyroid or pituitary
irregularities, require investigation by a doctor.
We don't want to alarm women whose periods are irregular
or who skip a period altogether now and then. You should probably consult a doctor
if you normally menstruate every month and find that you have missed two periods
in a row. Most likely you will be told that everything is okay. It may turn out
that you are having a cycle in which no egg was released and your doctor may suggest
taking progesterone (another female hormone) for 12 days to induce a flow. If no
progesterone is taken, your next period could be very heavy.
Last, but not least, remember that how to deal with periods
is one aspect of being a female, something we hope you can celebrate even more often
than once a month.
Learn how to deal with periods with helpful tips and advice from BeingGirl.