Menstruation is a part of life for most females during the fertile years of life. If you notice changes to your menstrual cycle, it may be a sign of something more serious. While some changes are expected, there are menstrual cycle signs to pay attention to. Keep reading to learn more about the five warning signs you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to your period.
5 Menstrual Cycle Signs to Watch For
Abnormal menstrual periods could mean an underlying health issue. As this is not always the case, consult your doctor about anything that concerns you. Below are signs that something might be off and potential causes.
1. Heavier Than Usual Flow
One common menstrual cycle warning sign is heavier than usual menstrual flow. The amount of blood you shed during menstruation varies from person to person, so it’s normal to have heavier and lighter flow days.
But if you often wonder, “Why am I bleeding a week after my period,” it could indicate a more serious underlying condition. Potential causes of heavier-than-normal flow include fibroids, polyps, infections, or endometriosis.
2. Abnormal Cramps
While menstrual cramps can be a regular part of your period, they can also be a sign of a medical issue. For example, cramps and heavy bleeding could be a sign of an infection.
Cramps that become more severe and don’t go away after your period ends may indicate endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue that should be expelled during menstruation grows outside the uterus or other organs in the pelvic area. This tissue can become inflamed, causing all types of painful symptoms.
3. Other Menstrual Cycle Signs: Unusual Discharge
Certain vaginal infections could cause abnormal discharge, as well as certain STIs. Particular types of abnormal vaginal discharge can indicate specific underlying conditions.
For example, a clear, watery discharge with a fishy odor could signify bacterial vaginosis, while a yellow-green discharge may be a sign of trichomoniasis. A thicker, white, cottage cheese-like discharge may be due to a yeast infection.
4. Breast Pain
Breast tenderness during your menstrual cycle is normal. However, breast pain is not. It could be a sign of endometriosis.
Breast pain and tenderness can also signify a cyst, infection, or autoimmune disease. As with the other things mentioned here, see your doctor about anything worrying you.
5. Unusual Cycle Length
One common menstrual cycle warning sign is an unusually long cycle length. A female’s menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of her period and is considered “normal” if it lasts between 21 and 35 days.
Certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, or stress can cause longer or shorter cycles. Unusual cycles can also be an indication that you’re premenopausal. Most women typically experience menopause by the ages of 45 and 55.
There are many reasons why you may experience menstrual cycle warning signs. For example, certain medications may cause an increase in flow or cramps, while a nutritional deficiency may cause changes in your cycle length. Stress can also cause changes in your cycle and hormonal imbalances.
Takeaway on Unusual Menstrual Cycle Signs
The menstrual cycle is an incredibly important part of a woman’s health, so paying attention to any changes or irregularities is important. While most menstrual cycles are normal, there are certain warning signs that you should discuss with a doctor immediately.
If something seems out of the ordinary with your menstrual cycle, don’t ignore it. Attention to your body’s signals can help you stay healthy and prevent more serious health issues.