At Healthy Woman's September event, "Girl Talk: Your Secret is Safe with Me", APRN Amber Shapton of Dyersburg Regional Women's Center debunked many myths and provided commonsense facts for women concerning their menstrual cycle, menopause and the body's reproductive system.
The menstrual cycle is the way a woman's body prepares for pregnancy during her fertile years. If no pregnancy occurs, then the body sheds the lining of the uterus. The average young lady begins her period shortly before her 13th birthday and enters menopause at 51 years of age, leaving just over 38 years of periods.
The normal menstrual cycle is estimated at 28 days, with cycles actually ranging from 21 to 35 days. Normal bleeding lasts three to five days, with the average woman losing 30 to 80 milliliters - or six to 16 teaspoons - of blood.
Additional symptoms include bloating, cramps, food cravings, breast tenderness, fatigue, headache, constipation, diarrhea, acne, mood swings and irritability.
Those experiencing a normal menstrual cycle may choose to use a heating pad, over-the-counter pain relief or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms. Contraceptives also help to stabilize and regulate a period.
Shapton said there is no evidence that women suffer a heavier period after a tubal ligation. Instead, Shapton said women usually come off of contraceptives, which lesson the severity of the cycle, and mistake the change for a side effect of the surgery.
In the case of severe bleeding, a D and C or ablation may be performed, which reduces the bleeding cycle for several months. A hysterectomy may be performed as a last resort for women who suffer from abnormal periods.
Shapton said there are several reasons for abnormal periods, including:
* thyroid conditions
* a hormonal imbalance
* a pituitary tumor
* fibroids - benign tumors
* PCOS - or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - a condition that causes an imbalance of sex hormones resulting in changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, difficulty getting pregnant and other problems
* perimenopause - the transition period in a woman's life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, her body produces less estrogen and progesterone and menstruation becomes less frequent
Shapton encouraged women to see a healthcare provider if they:
* miss a period
* experience a period after menopause
* suffer excessive or irregular bleeding
* experience bleeding less than normal, bleeding between periods or bleeding after intercourse
* suffer painful periods
"Post-menopausal women should never have any vaginal bleeding," said Shapton.
In October, Dyersburg Regional Medical Center will kick off its Caruthersville Healthy Woman program at First Baptist Church in Caruthersville. The program, scheduled at 6 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 13, is the first event across the river and the only time a Dyersburg event will be canceled for a Missouri event.
The title will be "The Use of Digital Mammography in Detecting Breast Cancer." The event is free and open to members of the Dyersburg Healthy Woman program, but seating is limited. Reservations will be taken.
Tickets are now on sale for $15 for the Dyersburg Healthy Woman Anniversary Event from 4-8 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 10. The anniversary celebration will kick off with a free expo and health fair, followed by dinner and a keynote presentation by motivational speaker and "Working it Out" author Abby Rike, a former contestant on NBC's "The Biggest Loser".
Tickets may be purchased at the DRMC Gift Shop, First Citizens National Bank at Green Village, Security Bank-Industrial Park, First South Bank on the 51 Bypass or by contacting Nicole Shepard at 287-2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for more photos from Healthy Woman's September event in the photo galleries.