During menstruation, the body sheds the uterine lining along with blood. The amount of blood and fluid lost varies from woman to woman. The average length of time for menstruation is three to five days.
Few women have an easy time during their monthly periods. Due to hormonal changes before and during menstruation, women must bear different kinds of problems. Symptoms like mood swings, back pain and abdominal cramps are common.
There are also other symptoms of menstruation that most women experience from time to time. Due to lack of knowledge, women may start worrying that something is abnormal and become stressed.
Learning about these normal symptoms will help you better understand various issues related to your cycle and ease concerns.
Here are the top 10 symptoms that are perfectly normal during menstruation.
1. Painful Breasts
During menstruation, many women complain about tender and painful breasts. In addition, there may be heaviness and swelling in the breasts.
These symptoms can make any woman worry about their health, but they are not serious. Tender and painful breasts occur due to hormonal changes and progesterone secretion during menstruation.
After menstruation, the problem resolves on its own.
To get relief, apply a cold compress on the breasts to reduce swelling and pain. Massaging the breasts gently with warm olive or coconut oil will also help.
2. Acne and Pimples on the Skin
Skin breakouts including pimples, zits and acne are common during menstruation. During menstruation, there is an increase in the sex hormones and androgen in the body. This makes the skin’s oil glands overactive, causing the pores to become clogged.
To solve the problem of acne and pimples, apply white toothpaste on the affected area, allow it to dry and then rinse it off with warm water. Applying a cold compress on the affected area also will help reduce pain and inflammation.
3. Swelling and Puffiness in Body
The hormonal imbalance in the body and an increase in estrogen during menstruation can cause excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues, leading to water retention.
This can create swelling and puffiness in different body parts, mostly in the feet, legs, stomach and breasts. Water retention is relatively normal and tends to pass when menstruation ends.
To prevent or get relief from this problem, drink dandelion or parsley tea a few times daily during your menstrual cycle. You can also enjoy a soothing and relaxing Epsom salt bath for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
4. Bloated Stomach
Bloating during the menstrual cycle is a common occurrence. In fact, 8 out of 10 women on average suffer from bloated stomach, both before and at the beginning of their menstrual cycle.
The major fluctuation of hormones – namely estrogen and progesterone –lead to fluid retention, swelling and a feeling of bloating near the abdominal area. This is a very uncomfortable and annoying symptom.
Drink more water to reduce bloating. You can also drink a few cups of an herbal tea like chamomile, ginger, fennel or green tea to prevent bloating. At the same time, reduce your intake of salt, starch, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Enjoy light meals several times a day during your cycle.
5. Blood Clots
Many women notice small clumps of blood in their menstrual flow. These blood clots are usually a normal, harmless part of menstruation. The clots may be bright red, dark red, brown or even black. They occur as part of the normal shedding of the uterine lining.
To reduce this problem, put a warm compress on your lower abdomen for 10 to 15 minutes, a few times a day. This will improve blood flow and prevent clots. However, if the clots are big and higher in quantity, consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.
6. Brown Blood Discharge
Noticing brown blood discharge during menstruation can make anyone worry. But there is nothing to be concerned about as it is mostly harmless. The brown blood discharge is due to oxidization that occurs when the blood stays in the ovaries for a longer time and the color changes to brown.
Including parsley and fresh papaya in your diet can help as a remedy for dark brown menstrual discharge.
7. Nausea and Vomiting
Many women suffer from nausea during menstruation, and some actually experience vomiting. Nausea is not a serious issue, but it can be draining and make you weak and tired.
Nausea and vomiting occur due to the production of prostaglandins during the menstrual cycle. This causes the walls of the uterus to contract, leading to nausea and cramps.
To relieve nausea, take a small piece of fresh lemon and inhale the smell. Drinking peppermint or ginger tea will also help.
8. Loose Bowel Movements
During the first few days of a menstrual cycle, some women experience loose bowel movements. This is perfectly natural and not harmful at all.
Loose bowel movements also happen due to hormonal changes. Once menstruation starts, the body releases chemicals called prostaglandins. Higher prostaglandins cause more contractions and lead to diarrhea-like symptoms.
To reduce the intensity and duration of loose bowel movements, eat yogurt and bananas. Even eating plain, boiled potatoes with soft cooked rice will also help comfort your upset stomach.
9. Rise in Body Temperature
During menstruation, some women complain about elevated body temperature. This is normal. The body temperature becomes warmer than usual due to hormonal fluctuations during different phases of the menstrual cycle.
In fact, the basal body temperature increases right after ovulation and contiues to remain high until a few days before the next period.
To get relief from fever, muscle aches and body pain during menstruation, drink a few cups of basil or ginger tea. Taking a sponge bath or a regular bath in lukewarm water will also help relax your body and reduce the body’s temperature.
There is a close relationship between headaches and hormonal changes in the body during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen and progesterone may affect headache-related chemicals in the brain, causing headaches. Many women with migraines report headaches before or during their periods.
To help numb the pain, you can apply a cold compress on your forehead. Another option is to extract juice from a handful of fresh mint leaves and apply it on your forehead and temples. Yoga and deep breathing will also help.