Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How To Count Your Period Cycle Length or "Am I normal?"

"DoctorDiva, I think there's something wrong with me. I've been getting my period twice a month some months."

"What was the first day of your last two menstrual cycles?"
"Well, DoctorDiva, I came on in the beginning of the month, went off a week later and came on again at the end of the month! There must be something wrong!"

"How many days do you bleed?"

"Well, I bled heavily for two or three days, then I spotted for another five days. Then I got my period again two and half weeks after that! What's wrong with me?"

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are completely and totally normal. Do you know how to count your cycle length?"
"Well, no. I mean, you should only get your period once a month, right?"
"Well, do you keep track of the first day of your period?" 
"I thought you counted from the END of your period."

I have this conversation more than twice a week.


WHO should CARE?

Well, if you want to know when you're going to ovulate, (when the egg pops out of the ovary and is ready for Mr. Sperm to sweep in and fertilize it), or don't want to get pregnant, or want to know if you ARE pregnant, you need to know when your period started.

See the picture up there. Yeah, I know. Ugh. Science. Right?

Look at the uterus picture. There's blood in there, and all the hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are low. That's your period. The blood comes out and the uterus is empty.

Then the estrogen goes up and then LH and FSH from the brain tell the ovary to pop out an egg. POP!! Out comes the egg, and it moves into the fallopian tube.

The blood starts to build up again and forms a really cushy nutrient rich lining inside the uterus where  the fertilized egg can set up house.

 If no sperm succeeds in it's quest to fertilize the egg, the progesterone levels and estrogen levels drop and BAM! Your period. Again.

If you know how long the time is from the first day of your period, to the next first day, you have your "cycle length."

Again, Who Cares?

YOU DO.  If you know that your period cycles are pretty regular, like 28 days or 32 days or similar, You can predict when your next period is going to be by counting forward from the first day of your period by your cycle length.

Also, if you want to know when you're ovulating, you count backwards by fourteen days from when your NEXT EXPECTED PERIOD is due and Bam!

Knowing the first day of your period is also how we figure out your due date for pregnancy.

 Now with so many people having smart phones with calendar apps, it should be fairly easy to keep track of your menstrual cycles.There are APPS for that!.

In general, that we talk about a 28 day cycle being "normal" but in reality,
"Normal" is a range.
 "Normal" is different for different people.

 Some people bleed every 21 days, some every 35 days, and some vary all over the place from 28 to 21 to 35 days or even skipping. That's not normal, and might be caused by a medical condition.

So, Are you normal?
Ask your Doctor.

July 22, 2014


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