All the period questions you were too embarrassed to ask – answered by an expert

For some reason, we can sometimes still get a bit shy when it comes to talking about periods.

Despite the fact it’s completely normal and something most women go through every month, we still find ourselves getting a bit embarrassed when it comes to asking those all important questions.

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Mirror Online has put the most common period questions to Dr Preethi Daniel, the clinical director at London Doctors Clinic, and we really hope her expert answers will help you out.

She said: "Woman have grown to accept that periods are just these inconvenient things and that everything that comes with them is just normal.

"But actually they don’t have be these painful things we go through every month."

Here are Dr Preethi’s answers to your questions.

Can I get pregnant while on my period?

"Although the chances are low it can still happen. Sperm can live in you for give days or so, maybe even up to a week.

"This means it is possible to get pregnant soon after your period finishes if you ovulate early, especially if you have a naturally short cycle."

Why do I get diarrhoea on my period?

"There’s no reason to worry about getting diarrhoea at the same time as your period.

"About a third of women experience tummy symptoms around the time of menstruation, including diarrhoea and constipation.

"The main reason for this is something called prostaglandin. This is what causes the womb to contract, shred it’s lining, cause the bleeding and also is trying to contract and limit the bleeding so you don’t bleed out.

"By telling the womb to squeeze squeeze squeeze, is also telling other muscles to squeeze squeeze squeeze so the bowels go into overdrive and you end up having diarrhoea."

What colour and consistency should my period be?

"This can vary between woman to woman and it can also vary between cycles.

"If you have less bleeding the blood is going to take longer to come out so it does oxidise and become brown.

"So anything from brown to fresh red is probably normal.

"It’s actually normal to have small clots because blood has to clot as it’s coming away from out body.

"What is not normal is very large clots and you might want to see a GP about that.

"Slimy bleeding is actually normal, I know that sounds gross, but vaginal secretions can mix with the blood and cause it to look and feel slimey."

Why do I get lower back pain on my period?

"Lower back pain during your period it totally common.

"It’s caused by contractions in the uterus, which radiate through the web of nerves within your pelvic region.

"This is a very common symptom during your period.

"Normally, it’s caused by aching muscles which is a result of chemical messengers in the body.

"Prostaglandins – chemicals which are similar to hormones – act like messengers to make your womb contract to get rid of its lining, which is what causes you to bleed.

"This can be passed through your nerves in the pelvic area and into the lower back."

My period is late – can it be because of something other than pregnancy?

"If you’re a woman of a child-bearing age and your period is late it is pregnancy until proven otherwise, so do a test.

"However, if you do miss a period or you are getting irregular periods it could be because of hormone inbalances.

"It’s not uncommon to miss a period now and again, and it’s actually quite common at two phases in our lives – at the time when we start our periods as well as during menopause ."

How can I control my PMS symptoms?

"The following PMS treatment options can help stabilise mood swings and improve a woman’s emotional health in the weeks before menstruation:

  • exercise
  • eating small, frequent meals
  • calcium supplements
  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sweets
  • simple painkillers
  • going on the pill
  • stress management."

Can I sleep with a tampon on?

"You can but it all depends on the hours you are sleeping.

"The recommended time to change a tampon is every eight hours and the average adult sleeps between seven and eight hours a night.

"It’s probably best to opt for a pad just in case you sleep in."

How much blood do I lose every cycle?

"The average amount of blood lost during a period is 30 to 40 millilitres, with nine out of ten women losing less than 80ml.

"Heavy menstrual bleeding is considered to be 60ml or more in each cycle."

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