Office Visits with Dr. V

Episode 3: If your period is _____, we need to talk.

November 27, 2020

Your period should not be disruptive to your life. If you can't eat, sleep or go to work/school because of it, that's a problem. If you have to pack a bag, wear different clothes, or avoid certain activities, your period is too heavy or painful. You might not know what a normal period is because you may not have discussed it with anyone. That's why you have Dr. V.


02:00 - Today's topic is one of the issues that Dr. V believes would require a whole podcast series to cover period or the more technical term menses. While most people seem to have regular menses, the few that don't tend to lead frustrated lives. But how do you define normal periods? According to Dr. V, if you have painful, long, heavy, or irregular menses, then there's a problem. Menses are a part of a woman's life, and if by any chance your menses are disrupting your life, then it's time you seek professional help. 


04:10 - During ovulation, the body modifies itself to receive sperms by preparing the uterine walls. If fertilization doesn't take place, then the body is forced to get rid of the uterine wall, and that's what comes out during menstruation. 


05:12 - A lot of reasons can lead to abnormal periods. The number one cause, however, is fibroids. Although not cancerous, fibroids are abnormal tumors that tend to grow in a woman’s uterus. The interesting thing about fibroids is that about 70% of women have them, and about 90% of African American women have them too.  Fibroids that develop within the uterine cavity may distort the lining of the uterus, which could potentially cause heavy flow and irregular menstruation.


06:50 - Endometriosis is another known cause of irregular menses. What happens during endometriosis is that the endometrium implants itself in different parts of the body, such as the intestines or stomach. When this happens, the woman involved usually faces longer cycles since the body has more tissues to shed. Endometriosis was low-key in the past but has been gaining ground for the past couple of years. 


08:08 - Irregular ovulation can sometimes lead to abnormal periods. The most common factor leading to irregular ovulation is obesity. With the number of people suffering from obesity increasing daily, Dr. V is worried that the number of women who might experience irregular ovulation might be on the rise. Dr. V admits that while it might be hard to lose weight, it's doable and well within your control. 


11:08 - To understand what's making you have irregular menses, Dr. V normally performs a couple of tests and starts with the physical exam where she examines your belly for any abnormal tissues. The second procedure is usually the internal pelvic exam which gives medics a lot of information about what's happening inside you. In extreme circumstances, Dr. V might recommend surgery so that they can go in and find out what's bugging you. 


11:25 - Anemia can also sometimes cause irregular menses. Anemia is a condition in which the body's hemoglobin count is below the normal count based on age and sex. People with heavy menses are more susceptible to anemia since the high amount of blood lost contains iron, and if not replaced, can lead to anemia. If you are anemic, visiting your doctor might be the fix you need to get rid of those irregular periods. 


13:10 - According to Dr. V, before you even get a doctor’s appointment, change your lifestyle. What you eat and how you live are a significant determinant on how your menses behaves. Change your diet, avoid processed foods, start exercising, and stop drinking milk, if your problems persist, please seek medical help.


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