50 Understanding Our Bodies
abnormal bleeding, 359
growing older, 123
Pressing hard on the
tender place between
your thumb and first
finger can ease many
kinds of pain. For
other places where
pressure can ease pain
from monthly bleeding,
see page 546.
Problems with monthly bleeding
If you have problems with your monthly bleeding, try to talk
with your mother, sisters or friends. You may find that they have
them too and they may be able to help you.
Changes in bleeding
Sometimes the ovary does not release an egg. When this
happens, the body makes less progesterone, which can cause
changes in how often and how much a woman bleeds. Girls
whose monthly bleeding has just begun—or women who have
recently stopped breastfeeding—may only bleed every few
months, or have very little bleeding, or too much bleeding.
Their cycles usually become more regular with time.
Women who use hormonal family planning methods
sometimes have bleeding in the middle of the month. See
pages 207 to 215 for more information about changes in
bleeding caused by hormonal family planning methods.
Older women who have not yet gone through menopause
may have heavier bleeding or bleed more often than when
they were younger. As they get closer to menopause, they
may stop having monthly bleeding for a few months and then
have it again.
Pain with monthly bleeding
During monthly bleeding the womb squeezes in order to
push out the lining. The squeezing can cause pain in the lower
belly or lower back, sometimes called cramps. The pain may
begin before bleeding starts or just after it starts.
What to do:
• Rub your lower belly. This helps the tight muscles relax.
• Fill a plastic bottle or some other container with hot water
and place it on your lower belly or lower back. Or use a
thick cloth you have soaked in hot water.
• Drink tea made from raspberry leaves, ginger, or
chamomile. Women in your community may know of other
teas or remedies that work for this kind of pain.
• Keep doing your daily work.
• Try to exercise and walk.
• Take a mild pain medicine. Ibuprofen works very well for
the pain that comes with monthly bleeding (see page 482).
• If you also have heavy bleeding and nothing else works,
taking a low-dose birth control pill for 6 to 12 months may
help (see page 208).
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012