Menstruation is an important part of a female reproductive health and it causes a number of changes in a woman’s body. There is more to monthly periods than it meets the eye. Every woman experiences her menstruation differently and while some girls and women deal with moderate to severe PMS symptoms and other effects linked with their periods, others have it relatively easy. Menstruation has always been associated with a number of myths and claims, but most of us don’t know whether they’re true or not. One of these claims is about uterus during menstruation. Does it really grow in size during this time? Let’s see.
How did it All Begin?
Myths and claims about different aspects of our health will always be present and it’s impossible to erase them all. What we can do is to dive into the subject and see whether there’s any truth in those claims. Chances are high you’ve probably heard that uterus grows in size during menstruation and wondered if it’s true.
But, how did it all start? It all began somewhere in 2012 with a photo that went viral on Facebook. The photo compares two models of the uterus with a slight difference; one model of the uterus is non-menstruating while the other is. Author of the post explained that’s why we feel somewhat heavier during that time of the month.
Since then, about 24,956 people shared the photo, more than 19,000 people reacted to it, while the post has 6000 comments and counting. With the help of the social media, it’s that easy to make something viral and it comes as no wonder why every girl or woman has wondered if her uterus really expands during menstruation.
How Menstruation Affects Uterus Size?
If you saw the photo, you’ve noticed that two uterus models have a major difference in their size and it really makes you wonder what goes on with uterus during menstruation. Healthcare professionals don’t agree with the photo and they explain uterus doesn’t, actually, experience a drastic change in size during your monthly period. What’s more, OB-GYNs with more than 20 years of experience in this field report they have never noticed such changes in uterus size during menstruation.
While a monthly cycle is associated with different changes in a woman’s body and it may make your uterus more swollen, it doesn’t double it in size. The uterus tends to be somewhat swollen during menstruation due to the increased blood flow to this particular area. Of course, this blood flow is contributed by hormonal influences. Moreover, the line of the uterus thickens by half a centimeter until the first day of menstruation. This lining is what sheds during your period and flushed out of your body.
A combination of the thickened lining of the uterus and increased blood flow is the reason why this pear-shaped reproductive organ increases volume by 10% to 15%. This is no way near the drastic change from the photo that went viral. In this case, seeing is not believing.
The truth is that a woman’s uterus exhibits a dramatic change in size during pregnancy only, which is logical because that’s where your fetus grows.
The feeling of heaviness during menstruation comes from these subtle changes in blood flow and thickened the lining of the uterus. Some women also have the need to urinate more frequently. Some women don’t feel heavy at all. It is important to mention that “heaviness” during menstruation doesn’t have to be linked with the volume of your uterus, many factors contribute to it.
What is the Normal Size of the Uterus?
While we’re discussing changes in the uterus during menopause, it is important to address the subject that most of us never consider – normal size of the uterus. Typically, a woman’s uterus is about seven centimeters long, five centimeters wide, and four centimeters thick. That being said, the size of this reproductive organ can vary from one woman to another. As always, individual differences do apply here.
Let’s go back to the above-mentioned picture of two uterus models. Although their size difference is dramatic, both versions are still possible. How? While this organ won’t actually double its size during menstruation (only gets slightly swollen), it does change during and after pregnancy. So, the smaller model could represent a uterus of a woman who has never given birth to a child or she is postmenopausal. On the other hand, the larger uterus model represents a pear-shaped organ of a woman who has had a few children already.
A woman’s uterus can expand in length due to fibroids, too. Some estimates show that about 20% to 80% of women develop uterine fibroids by the time they reach 50. The fibroid is a muscular tumor that grows in the uterine wall. Don’t be alarmed, fibroids are always benign. In addition, an affected woman can have on fibroid or more of them in her uterus.
It is also important not to dismiss the role of genetics in uterus size. Like many other aspects of our health and wellbeing, this one could be also linked with heredity. So, if your mother has had a smaller uterus, chances are high you will too and vice versa.
Why We Feel Bloated During Menstruation?
Most women experience heaviness in abdominal area during menstruation, but it doesn’t have to do anything with changes in uterine volume. In most cases, water retention (caused by hormonal imbalance) causes bloating symptoms. Not only do you feel bloating in your stomach, but it can also affect your face, hands, and even your breasts. Before you start thinking; no they will not become huge like Kylie Jenner’s, who used menstruation to cover her breast augmentation procedure.
Moreover, during PMS stage we usually crave unhealthy foods, especially those rich in sodium and sugar. As a result, our body retains more water and we also experience problems with constipation.
Tips to Fight Bloating in Menopause
Although you can’t actually change anything about natural causes of bloating occurring in the uterus during menopause, prevent it from swelling, and reduce bloating, there are many other things you can do. Here are a few tips and tricks:
- Eat protein- and potassium-rich foods (they fill you up, but don’t contribute to water retention or constipation)
- Drink a lot of water
- Avoid consuming too much sodium
- Instead of junk food and sweets you should opt for fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid or limit intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Practice yoga
- Consult your doctor about taking a product like Femmenessence MacaPause
Contrary to the popular belief, a woman’s uterus doesn’t double in size during menstruation. Although this idea was popularized in a viral photo, such thing is not possible. That being said, some changes do happen in the uterus during menstruation. Due to increased blood flow and thickened uterine lining, your uterus may swell by 10-15%, but it doesn’t experience dramatic expansion. The feeling of heaviness you have could be down to water retention, constipation, and other factors. The size of uterus varies among women and the only way it goes through drastic change is during pregnancy.