Many women experience premenstrual pain and discomfort. Tenderness of the breasts and a tendency to retain fluid and bloat commonly occur about one to seven days before each period. Some women also experience headache, irritability, nervousness, fatigue, crying spells, and depression with no apparent cause. This is called premenstrual stress or PMS.
A few women also experience severe menstrual cramps called dysmenorrhea during the first day or two of the period.
Regular and painless menstruation signifies good health. Normal menstruation should occur regularly without excessive pain, fatigue, or blood loss. Most women should be able to carry on their usual activities.
Menstrual discharge can be absorbed either by a sanitary napkin, a disposable pad, or any absorbent material worn with the underwear. These used materials should be disposed or properly by the individual.
Missing a menstrual period is not normal. The most common reason for a young woman to miss a menstrual period is pregnancy. Other reasons include emotional stress, weight loss, and abnormal hormonal balance. If a woman frequently misses her period or if it occurs less often than every 35 days, she should consult a doctor.