Menstruation came into my life when I accidentally walked into an awareness seminar held for secondary school students. I was curious so I approached my mother and she clarified my doubts, albeit rather vaguely. When my periods began, it was on the fly that I understood the intricacies of a menstrual cycle.

If you menstruate, you probably feel like a stone has dropped in your chest when your period is late. Panicking is quite common among us; but here is a truth bomb – our periods are not supposed to come on the same date every month! The role played by our menstrual cycles along with other factors can account for a slight delay in our periods.

A menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one’s period to the first day of the next period and yes, it isn’t the same for everyone. Although a typical menstrual cycle is 28 days long, it may vary from 21- 35 days. The length of the menstrual cycle varies from person to person. Your first day of periods need not be on the same, exact date every month. A few days back and forth is absolutely alright! Also, let’s not forget the various factors that can influence the menstrual cycle. Any alterations in your environment, health and behaviour which affect your reproductive hormones can result in slight changes in your menstrual cycle, period duration and volume.

All of us know about the impact of stress on our physical health and emotional well-being. But its impact on the menstrual cycle is usually left out. Our body prioritizes certain bodily functions when we are stressed and it suppresses those that are not as important, which is why stress can sometimes lead to a delayed period.

Sudden increase or decrease in weight and high-intensity workouts can also lead to a delayed period. A drastic change in your weight or an exercise regime creates a hormonal imbalance which in turn affects the menstrual cycle. Changes in sleep patterns, diets and smoking habits are also among others.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s period is dynamic and privy to their bodies. However, if you notice something unusual or a striking irregularity in your periods, make sure to pay a visit to a gynaecologist.

Regardless of this knowledge, a lot of us are still going to get pregnancy scares. Well, let’s just accept that as a part of life!

|| By Shruti Menon ||

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