WLM WLM Spring 2015 - Page 27

WLM | Woman THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE: Friend or Foe by Travis D. Klingler, MD W hen my daughter was 12 year old and facing puberty, she came to us alarmed when she started her “pyramid” (her words, not mine). We explained how perfectly normal she is and how all women must have a menstrual cycle. When she inquired about how long the bleeding would last and we replied with 3-7 days, she exclaimed, “Well I hope mine lasts three days so I can just get it over with.” I’ve met many women who share my daughter’s wish. A patient once described it as her “monstral cycle.” When my wife looked at the title of this article, she told me I should rename it “The Menstrual Cycle: Blech!” Albeit unpleasant and unpopular, each woman should know what the menstrual cycle is and that it can say a lot about your health. What is the menstrual cycle? What is considered normal? What is normal for you may not be normal for someone else. A woman’s menstrual cycle can be as unique as the woman. But there are general characteristics that define a normal cycle. It is measured from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. The usual cycle interval is 28 days but can range widely. A normal period usually lasts two to seven days. It’s also normal to skip a period or vary bleeding. Extreme variations or sudden changes are more indicative of a problem. What causes menstrual abnormalities & how can you control them? if your period changes as there are ways to control it. Once more serious reasons have been excluded, your cycle can usually be controlled with hormonal contraceptives or intrauterine device. When finished having children, some women elect to permanently cauterize and ablate the interior of the uterus, a procedure called endometrial ablation. If you feel your menstrual cycle has become abnormal, please see your doctor or contact Dr. Klingler at Laramie Physicians for Women, 307-745-8991. W L M WE BELIEVE Yo u D e s e r v e Exceptional Facilities There are several ways your period may be abnormal. Anatomical changes to the uterus, some of them precancerous, may be the source, as may be metabolic changes such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Often your period changes over time without a defined reason. You should however see your doctor Photos courtesy of Haselden and Raul Garcia I meet many women who do not know why they have a period or what it is. The menstrual cycle is your body’s way of preparing for pregnancy. Each month, several eggs are prepared and begin a race to ovulation and the uterus prepares for pregnancy. When a pregnancy does not happen the changes within the lining of the uterus are reversed and it is shed off through the vagina. The entire process then starts over. Travis D. Klingler, MD has been in private practice since 2002. He attended Creighton Medical School and completed his residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita. He currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine - WWAMI program. Dr. Klingler enjoys life in 1