Just over half of South Africa’s population is made up of women, and every month those women bleed. Even though there are so many women in the country there is still a lot of misinformation that is spread around about what actually happens on your period. So here is a look at some of the things that you didn’t know about your period.
What happens to your body on your period?
Your menstrual cycle is designed with one goal in mind – to get you pregnant. How it works is that in the middle of your cycle ovulation occurs. This is when an egg is released from your ovaries and moves to the Fallopian tubes, where it could meet with the sperm and get fertilized.
Your body then pumps up the production of the hormone progesterone, which thickens the lining of the uterus in preparation for the egg to be implanted. If there is no pregnancy then the progesterone levels come down and your thickened lining starts to shed – and that’s your period.
If you’re using hormonal birth control then you’re not having a “real period”
If you’re using a ring, the IUD, the pill or an implant then your period will be a little different from everyone else’s. These hormones tell your body that it doesn’t need to produce more progesterone. Without the extra progesterone, your body won’t build up as much of a lining every month meaning that your period will be a lot lighter.
But can you get pregnant on your period?
Yes, the chances of you getting pregnant on your period are pretty slim, but it actually comes down to your own personal cycle. Keep in mind that not all bleeding is your period. Firstly, some women can bleed when their ovaries release an egg each month – which they mistake for their period, but it actually means that they’re at peak fertility.
Secondly, you can even ovulate before your period is over or even a few days after bleeding has stopped. Keep in mind that sperm can hang out in the body for up to three days, so you could still get pregnant around this time. Basically, if you’re bleeding, it may not actually be your period. So be sure to use protection and to keep track of your cycle.
PMS is a serious thing
As a woman, we’ve all experienced PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) where a week or two before your period you get mood swings, bloating, migraines, acne, sluggishness, etc. It can be different for every woman, but it’s something that can be linked to the hormonal changes of progesterone. So during this time be sure to sleep enough, eat healthily and exercise to ease the pain and symptoms.
It sucks getting your period every month, but it’s a sign that your body is functioning properly and that you’re probably not pregnant. So, as said before, be sure keep track of your cycle every month and to always practice safe sex.