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Millions of women have doubts as to whether or not they should be worried about their menstrual cycle. The problem is that it’s difficult to know if something is wrong if you’re not sure what’s considered normal.
Listed below are some of the most common areas of concern women have regarding their periods, and what’s considered normal and not normal for each one. If you experience anything that falls into the abnormal category, or if you’re unsure about something, consult with your doctor.
Normal: The average woman bleeds for three to five days, although the normal range is considered two to seven days. Some spotting beyond seven days is also considered normal.
Not Normal: Heavy flow beyond seven days isn’t normal.
Menstrual Cycle Length
Normal: While the average length of time between menstrual cycles is 28 days, cycles as short as 21 days and as long as 35 days are also normal. Menstrual cycles tend to shorten and become more regular as you get older.
A slight variation in the length of your cycles, such as going from a 28-day cycle one month to a 31-day cycle the next, is normal.
Not Normal: A menstrual cycle much longer than 35 days or much shorter than 21 days is considered abnormal. Large variations in cycle length are also abnormal. For example, going from a 21-day long cycle to a 35-day long one, isn’t normal.
Normal: The average woman releases less than a cup of blood but many women experience some heavy bleeding. A heavier flow during the first few days of your cycle is normal. Passing small, tissue-like clots on the first couple of days is also normal.
Light bleeding is often seen in women nearing perimenopause, as well as those using hormonal birth control methods.
Not Normal: A flow that requires you to change your pad or tampon more than every hour or two isn’t normal. Severe blood loss during periods could be from menorrhagia, a condition that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities.
On the other hand, abnormally light periods could also be an indicator of certain autoimmune disorders or other medical conditions. Passing clots the size of a golf ball or larger is abnormal.
Normal: Mild cramping is normal and occurs in about 50% of women. It’s especially common the day before and the first day of your period.
Not Normal: Severe cramping that makes it difficult for you to function is abnormal. Getting cramps outside of your period isn’t normal either.
Severe, disabling cramps felt in the lower abdomen can indicate a more serious health problem called endometriosis.
Spotting Between Periods
Normal: Some women experience light spotting during ovulation or around the time when the embryo would be implanting itself into the uterine lining (around seven days after ovulation). Spotting during these times is normal.
Not Normal: Spotting that occurs throughout your cycle, or heavy bleeding in between periods, isn’t considered normal.
Normal: Food cravings, mood swings, irritability, mild headaches, bloating and difficulty sleeping are all normal period symptoms.
Not Normal: While slight mood swings are common, serious depression and manic states aren’t normal period symptoms.
The normal guidelines given above apply to the general population, but it’s important that you take the time to learn about your personal menstrual cycle so you’ll be better able to understand what’s normal for you.
Have concerns about your period? To set up an appointment, visit us online or call Contemporary Women’s Care today at (407) 478-6249 (OBGYN) for our Winter Park location. For our Lake Nona location, call (407) 476-0200.
Some experts say that expecting moms should only be eating the amount of nutrients for two, but sometimes you just want to eat the amount of food for two. We have some great news! You and your little one can be both satisfied and healthy with these meal ideas throughout the day. Here are 4 meal ideas you can add to your diet for the best of both worlds.
Easy going in the morning
Although you wish you could eat a glorious breakfast comprised of protein and coffee to get your day started, that might not be the best idea especially if you frequently get morning sickness.
Something warm first thing in the morning is always a good idea. Decaffeinated green tea is the perfect alternative to coffee and helps keep your coffee cravings at bay. It’s filled with antioxidants and gently wakes you up without making you feel nauseous. Also, a squeeze of lemon in your tea can reduce nausea as well.
Your green tea can then be followed by something a little more substantial like Special K Original cereal (or another flavor depending on your taste and nausea level). For some extra nutritional value and flavor, add a few banana pieces to your cereal. The B6 vitamin in bananas reduces nausea while the potassium, vitamin C and fiber boost your health.
Light and fresh lunch
Once your stomach is settled and your precious bundle alerts you that it’s lunch time, whipping up a chicken spinach wrap is an ideal meal option. Spinach wraps contain healthy levels of folic acid and iron. Spinach wraps also contain less fat and virtually no cholesterol.
The key ingredient to this dish is the nutritious and delicious avocado spread that’ll liven up the flavor as a substitute for mayonnaise. Avocado is not only bursting with fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6, but also a great source of monounsaturated fat that helps you’re your cholesterol low. If that’s not enough, it also promotes brain tissue growth of your baby!
Then of course, you get protein from the lean grilled chicken strips in the wrap. Remember, if you’re going to add tomatoes, use as little as possible to avoid heartburn and acid reflux.
Power-packed dinner plate
This next idea is great for those nights when your bouncing baby has mustered a big appetite. Beef stir-fry will provide excellent sources of both iron and protein (if you’re a meat eater). However, red bell peppers are the star of this show! Red bell peppers have been praised for the taste and color they add to dishes, but they also have lots of nutritional value. They contain almost 3 times your daily value of vitamin C which supports immune health.
The beef and peppers work together perfectly in this dish because red bell peppers increase the absorption of the iron the beef provides. Feel free to add carrots, spinach, broccoli or other dark green and leafy veggies for maximum health benefits.
Nothing can compare to a nice, refreshing bowl of fruit. Blueberries offer powerful antioxidants and folic acid, two very important nutrients during pregnancy. Papaya possesses potassium, vitamin c, folate and fiber and is said to reduce heartburn. Strawberries are very popular among soon-to-be moms because they are high in iron which gives you energy during this special time. Try making a fruit salad using these fruits for a highly nutritious mid-day snack.
Now that you have a few meal ideas, try them out and even put your own spin on them to fit your taste buds. Need a check up to understand more about the nutrients your body needs? Schedule an appointment and visit Contemporary Women’s Care.
Image courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici @ Freedigitalphotos.net
Having a baby is one of life’s greatest gifts. Although pregnancy comes with frustrating symptoms – morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness – the health benefits gained from pregnancy more than make up for the negative side effects. The changes your body goes through during these next nine months will be worth it when your baby finally arrives, and the health benefits last long after childbirth.
Pregnancy Produces Healthier Habits
With a little one on the way, your priorities change, and so do your habits. Becoming a mother encourages you to evaluate your life and make healthy changes, because now the way you treat your body directly affects the growing baby inside you.
A poll by BabyCenter asked over 20,000 moms about how motherhood has impacted their habits, and the results showed that pregnancy has a way of rearranging one’s priorities:
- 83% now eat a healthier diet, or takings steps to do so.
- 69% have stopped putting their mental health on the back burner.
- 65% are getting active again, or trying to. (For something low-impact with proven benefits for pregnant women, try prenatal yoga.)
- 52% ditched unhealthy habits completely (or at least cut back on them) and started making their health more of a priority.
Making these changes early on can set the stage for a healthy newborn. If your healthy eating habits stick with you post-pregnancy, you’re more likely to encourage your child to eat healthier as he or she grows up.
Pregnancy Lowers Your Risk of Cancer
Studies have shown that breastfeeding and the number of children a woman gives birth to can lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Pregnancy and breastfeeding both reduce women’s exposure to ovarian hormones associated with increased breast cancer risk.
Additionally, women who reach full-term pregnancies experience reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. The risks lower each time a woman has a full-term pregnancy.
Pregnancy Offers Relief from Menstrual Pain
If you suffered from severe menstrual cramps before pregnancy, you’ll be pleased to know that menstrual pain decreases after giving birth. It’s unknown why women experience fewer cramps post-pregnancy, but one theory is that childbirth eliminates some of the prostaglandin receptor sites in the uterus. These hormones tell the uterus when to contract during labor as well as during your menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy Fights Heart Disease
Did you know that heart disease is the main cause of death in the US for women? It leads to approximately 600,000 deaths per year. However, studies have found that women who have been pregnant multiple times have a lowered risk of developing heart disease or experiencing strokes. Researchers say it could be due to the higher levels of estrogen present during pregnancy, since low estrogen levels can lead to heart disease.
Scientists speculate that the oxytocin released during breastfeeding also helps keep your heart healthy. Besides hormones, having little ones around to provide support and social interaction can ward off heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Image courtesy of: hayleesherwood @ Flickr
Some women discover inner strength they didn’t know they had after going through labor. It’s great to know that our bodies reward us for being so strong during the process.
If you’re thinking about starting a family, or if it’s simply time for your check-up, schedule an appointment today with one of our Orlando Obstetricians. Call us at (407) 478-6249 for our Winter Park office, (407) 476-0200 for our new office in Lake Nona or visit our website for more information.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. While these statistics are a cause for concern, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older.
A preventative measure every woman can take is performing a self-breast exam each month. These monthly breast exams help you familiarize yourself with your breasts, so that you can more easily detect changes. Below are three commonly practiced ways you can conduct a self-breast exam from your home.
1. In the Mirror
According to John Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” One way to conduct a self-breast exam is by simply looking at your breasts in the mirror. Look for any abnormalities including a change of size, shape or color. Other symptoms include bulging of the skin, redness, and soreness, rash or swelling. Next, raise your arms high, looking for the same changes. If you do experience any of these signs talk to your physician. Don’t be alarmed by anything you may find – it is always better to find symptoms sooner rather than later.
2. In the Shower
An easy way to perform a self-breast exam is in the shower. First, raise your right arm high and using your left hand examine your right breast. With circular motions, feel around the breast area with the pads of your fingers. Feel for any lumps, thickening, or masses. Don’t forget to check the area of your armpit and along the side of your breast. Repeat this same examination of the left breast. Consult your doctor for any unusual lumps or knots in your breast so that he/she may conduct a proper examination.
3. Lying Down
Another way you can conduct a self-breast exam is by lying down on your back with a pillow underneath your right shoulder. Next, rest your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand feel your right breast in circular motions for any lumps or changes. Be sure to feel the entire breast area as well as your armpit and squeeze your nipples gently, checking for any discharge or lumps. Repeat this examination on your left breast. Report any changes to your health care provider.
If you have any questions regarding self-breast exams or would like to discuss any findings you may have discovered in your exam, schedule an appointment with Orlando OB GYN, Contemporary Women’s Care, at www.myobgynorlando.com or call (407) 478-6249 today.
It’s been commonly stated that “knowledge is power”. This especially holds true for your health. One in every three women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their life. Women are affected by numerous cancers every day. Simply being aware of these cancers and knowing what their signs are can help with early detection. Below are the top cancers that affect women.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women. Breast cancer is a disease where cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast that eventually invade surrounding tissue. With early detection and treatment, most people can live a normal life. A preventative measure every woman can take is getting a mammogram. Women ages 50 to 74 years should get a mammogram every 2 years. Every woman should perform a self-breast exam each month to help detect lumps or a change in the breast tissue.
The most common form of treatment for breast cancer is surgery. This involves removing the tumor and nearby margins. Another commonly practiced treatment is chemotherapy, which uses a combination of drugs to either destroy the cancer cells or slow down their growth. To learn more about breast cancer visit Nationalbreastcancer.org.
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer combined. One in five women who develop lung cancer are life-long non-smokers. The most common type of lung cancer in women is adenocarcinoma, which begins in the outer parts of the lung. Early symptoms can be subtle, such as shortness of breath with activity or fatigue. As the disease progresses, you may experience a chronic cough or cough up blood.
The most common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. If diagnosed early, surgery may offer a higher chance for a cure. Sadly, the five-year survival rate is only about 15%.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is expected to cause about 50,310 deaths during 2014. Colon cancer is caused by a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine.
Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps and removal of these polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, colon polyps and early cancer can have no symptoms – therefore regular screening is important. The National Polyp Study showed that individuals who had their polyps removed experienced a 90% reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer.
Other Cancers that Affect Women
Other prevalent cancers that affect women include cervical and ovarian cancer. Many people are often confused about the difference between the two, when in fact they are very different from each other. While both are gynecological cancers, cervical cancer is found in the cervix and symptoms include increased vaginal discharge and pain during sex. A Pap smear test is a pelvic exam that can screen for cervical cancer, but does not detect ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a very complex disease with symptoms that are more vague and not always gynecological. Currently, there is no screening method available for ovarian cancer. While ovarian cancer occurs in the ovaries, some symptoms may include a swollen or bloated abdomen; persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis; and difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
To learn more about the different cancers that affect women or if you would liked to be screened, schedule an appointment online with Winter Park Obstetrician at Contemporary Women’s Care or call (407) 478-6249.