Your Local Pharmacist is

Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 8880-8326

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:: In Brief


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:: Menstrual Cycle

Healthy Women & Menstrual Cycle
  Healthy Women
  Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is caused by the changes in a woman's body that happen when an egg develops and the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. The menstrual cycle starts when you have a period. The first day of bleeding is called 'day one' and the cycle ends the last day before the next period starts.

A normal menstrual cycle is about three to six weeks (21-42 days) from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period.  28 days is the most common.  At first, periods can be very irregular but after the first year they usually settle into a pattern. The pattern is different for each woman. The length of the menstrual cycle can also vary for each woman. Things such as stress, weight loss, exercise and travelling can affect the length of the cycle.

The main problems that you may experience are Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Period Pain. PMS is most likely caused by the changes in hormone levels.  Period pain is thought to be caused by an increase in activity of body chemicals.

Signs & Symptoms - PMS

  • Fluid retention - bloated abdomen, increase in weight, swelling of ankles and fingers
  • Increased thirst or appetite
  • Tender, swollen or painful breasts
  • Dull aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness / no energy / diffuclty sleeping
  • Skin breaks out
  • Emotional; irritable, difficulty concentrating, clumsy, depressed

Signs & Symptoms - Period Pain

  • Spasms, cramping or 'dragging' pain across the lower abdomen and/or lower back
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Stomach bloating
  • Headache
  • Occasional shakiness, dizziness


PMS - Some studies have shown that women taking 50mg of B6 and B1 in the days before a period may have some relief.



Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds produced by certain plants. Food sources of phytoestrogens include soy products, flaxseeds, chick peas, pinto beans, french beans, lima beans, and pomegranates. Phytoestrogens can lighten menstruation and lengthen menstrual cycles. On the other hand, researchers have found that women who were fed soy-based formulas in infancy instead of cow's milk are more likely to report heavy menstrual bleeding and painful periods in adult life.

PMS symptoms may be relieved by avoiding caffeine, sugar, salt, white flour, red meat, dairy, butter, monosodium glutamate (MSG), fried foods, and processed foods during the two weeks prior to menstruation. Food that help to fight PMS include steamed green vegetables, salad, beans, grains, and fruit. To obtain essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) women can eat flaxseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.

Herbal remedies and Chinese medicine

A variety of herbal remedies may alleviate symptoms associated with menstrual problems.


Many supplements can be used to alleviate symptoms of PMS and period pain

Further Information:


Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • your menstrual cycle
  • medications for managing period pain
  • medications for managing PMS 

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