It is true that millennial women are the harbinger of a new era where women are breaking glass ceilings through their talents and self-development on the personal and professional level. But in the rush to create a place for themselves, they often tend to ignore health issues, especially reproductive and menstrual health, which are vital for a healthy body and focused life. According to research by women’s health App Nyra, 33 percent of women App users suffer from irregular menstruation problem like Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD). These are mainly millennial women, of age 18 to 35, who tend to postpone their health due to hectic and fast-paced life. The competitive and professional workplace, the persistent stress and insecurities in addition to changed lifestyle and polluted environment together have an adverse effect on their health.
Besides, according to a report by DownToEarth, the illiteracy, poverty and taboo around menstruation in India contribute to the lack of awareness about the importance of menstrual health and availing the health care services if required. It is therefore important to sensitise society about menstrual health and encourage more and more women to speak about their menstrual problems and seek health services without hesitation. To start with the process of creating awareness, let us understand what healthy and irregular menstruation is.
- It is important to sensitise society about menstrual health and encourage more and more women to speak about their menstrual problems and seek health services without hesitation.
- An irregular period is when the gap between two menstrual cycle changes unpredictably (usually extends till 35 days or more) and the duration of one cycle also varies. Some women also face heavy or no bleeding.
- Polycystic Ovarian Disorder is one of the major complications of the irregular period but they are curable.
- Healthy lifestyle, a good diet, exercise and proper sleep can help. Take medical advice if the condition persists.
Regular periods and irregular period
Menstruation is a monthly cycle of vaginal bleeding that is a part of the reproductive system. Every month a woman’s body prepares for pregnancy and undergoes ovulation in which one of the ovaries releases an egg. During this time women’s body experiences hormonal changes to prepare the uterus for the foetus. When no pregnancy occurs, the uterus or womb sheds its lining through vagina. Menstruation and the hormonal changes that it accompanies affect different body parts causing pain, mood swings and other consequences. Normal menstruation occurs at an interval of 21-35 days counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next one. One cycle of period lasts mostly for 3-7 days and the time period varies with different women.
Irregular periods can also be a warning for reproductive health complications like PCOD, thyroid disorder, cervical or uterine cancer, endometriosis and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
An irregular period or oligomenorrhoea is missed, delayed or erratic period with or without abnormal bleeding patterns. Its major symptoms are unpredictable and continuous changes in the interval between two-period cycles. They are either delayed or occur much before the regular expected date. The duration of one period also unpredictably increases or decreases. Sometimes it goes on for a month. Often the bleeding also undergoes changes causing heavy to no bleeding at all. Sometimes there is a presence of clots of size more than 2.5 cm in the menstrual blood which is also a symptom of irregular period. While the menstrual irregularity during puberty and menopause does not necessarily raise health issues but the irregular period during reproductive years requires special attention.
Causes of an irregular period
An irregular period can be caused by certain health problems like stress, depression, hormonal disbalance smoking, eating disorder, overweight or underweight, over-exercising, daily harassment, and medicine side-effects among others. In some cases, it is also hereditary. Further irregular periods can also be a warning for reproductive health complications like PCOD, thyroid disorder, cervical or uterine cancer, endometriosis (a condition in which the cells found inside the uterus grow on the outside) and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) (an infection in reproductive organs, a common and serious complications of STD in women).
Dr Anita Gupta, a senior consultant for Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Fortis La Femme GK-2 spoke with SheThe People.TV about irregular periods and how can it be cured. Talking about increased cases of irregular periods today and mostly among working women, she said, “These days the menstrual problems have become a very common issue with women of all age. To some extent, it is due to changed lifestyle which includes insufficient sleep and unhealthy eating habits along with increasing mental stress, especially in working women. Also, smoking is a contributing factor. Some medical problems like Hypothyroidism and Diabetes can also lead to menstrual irregularities.”
What do millennial women have to say?
To gather experiences from women who suffer from menstrual irregularities and how they dealt with it, SheThePeople.TV approached some millennial women. They talked about the major causes of their irregular period and how the consequent stress affects their lifestyle. Further, they also spoke about the tested remedies and cure for this issue.
Modern lifestyle and stress major stimulants
Kirti, BA LLB student from Symbiosis Law College Noida said, “Modern life is full of stressful situations and triggers that can negatively affect the mood of any woman. Due to everyday burden there is either delay in ovulation or periods can last longer, even for months. The onset of the next cycle would also be late, making menstrual cycle total messed up. I’m personally affected by this tedious lifestyle and its effect on my menstrual health.”
Titiksha Kashyap, a student from IIMC Delhi said, “I have been suffering from irregular periods lately. I guess lifestyle plays a major role. Stress, eating junk, irregular sleeping hours and fewer workouts are major stimulants. I would suggest leading a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, workout accordingly, sleep properly. These help a lot. Personal experience.”
Adding further Augustina Tangu, BA Japanese student from JNU said, “Lately, I am disturbed by my late periods. The major reason in my case is irregular diet and unhealthy lifestyle. I think eating vegetables and exercising regularly are very effective in improving menstrual health.”
Polycystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD) a major cause
PCOD is one of the major causes of irregular period and is astonishingly common among millennial women of age 18to 35. It is a condition in which cysts form on the woman’s ovaries and she does not release an egg every month. The major symptoms include irregular period, obesity, hormonal disbalance, acne and excess hair growth. According to the Office on Women’s Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 10 out of 20 women of reproductive age are diagnosed with PCOD. Even girls of 11 years old suffer from this condition.
Dr Gupta said, “One of the common causes today of menstrual irregularities is PCOD or Polycystic ovaries. Somehow an unhealthy lifestyle is seen to be a contributing factor for this. PCOD leads to hormonal imbalance, further leading to problems of ovulation or egg formation in the ovaries. These women find it difficult to conceive. But the good thing is that this is a treatable condition.”
PCOD is one of the major causes of irregular period and is astonishingly common among millennial women of age 18to 35. It is a condition in which cysts form on the woman’s ovaries and she does not release an egg every month. The major symptoms include irregular period, obesity, hormonal disbalance, acne and excess hair growth.
Suggesting some treatments and preventions to have a healthy and regular period, Anita Gupta said, “So to have regular menses with a normal bleeding pattern you need to first find the cause. If it’s secondary to a medical problem than once treatment is started for the decease, the menses will slowly become normal. If it’s PCOD hormonal treatment will help. In all cases; leading a healthy lifestyle is very important. Sleep well, take a healthy diet, quit smoking, exercise moderately.
Millennial women busting myths around PCOD
While it is important to diagnose the problem in menstrual health, it does not mean that women need to be stressful about it. Often irregular periods and problems like PCOD cause additional stress and fear of becoming infertile or suffering from some major diseases. The myths that women with PCOS cannot get pregnant, only overweight women have PCOS, it is a rare condition and that reducing body fat alone can cure PCOS make women blame themselves. It is therefore important for them to bust these myths and understand that PCOD does not mean infertility and it can be cured with proper medical attention.
Speaking about such stress and how they dealt with it, Aashima, MA English student from DU, said, “Irregular periods cause great emotional turbulence in women. Being a patient of PCOD I often experience severe cramps in my irregular cycle of periods and it is the roughest time of my life. Due to irregular periods, one could face problems such as hair thinning, facial hair, acne. In order to avoid it, one must consult the doctor and on a personal level, one should invest time in exercising, adding fruits to diet, being active by living a healthy lifestyle.
Adding further, Charvi Kathuria from SheThePeople.TV said, “I suffered from PCOD for two years. I was depressed for some time but then I spoke to my friends about it and found that almost everyone had it. I took medical help, changed lifestyle, started exercising, brisk walking, improved my diet and today I don’t have it anymore.”
Concluding, Kirti, talked about how the focus on the individual body alone can help women get rid of irregular periods and all the stress that it causes. She said “I suffer from PCOD which is normal for women of my age. I have seen many women suffering from PCOD and having all the side effects. The only remedy to cure this is to stop overthinking and try to find some time for yourself. Spending some time on my body personally helped me a lot to fight my PCOD.”
Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV
Also Read: Seven Rules For A Healthy Intimate Routine