What is Menstruation – Menstrual Cycle, Overview & Phases

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Overview 

Menstruation, or Periods, typically occur once a month during the reproductive years except during pregnancy. It occurs when the uterine lining sheds and turns into blood. The vagina is then used to expel this blood from the body. 

Periods often last 3 to 7 days. A menstrual person bleeds from the vagina during this time. Other symptoms, such as cramps, could also be present.

Having a period indicates that a woman is not pregnant as the menstruation stops when a woman is pregnant. It also signals the start of a fresh menstrual cycle. From their teen years until menopause, when periods stop, this reproductive cycle affects the majority of females. 

What is menstruation? 

The uterine lining sheds and turns into blood during menstruation. The vagina is then used to expel this blood from the body. It also goes by the name “period.”Because of the menstrual cycle, periods occur. 

This is the cyclical increase and decrease in hormone levels, such as progesterone and oestrogen, that affect female fertility throughout a period of about 21 to 35 days. 

When the ovaries release an egg during ovulation, which occurs around halfway through the cycle, fertility reaches its peak. The uterine lining becomes thicker as a result, preparing for a prospective pregnancy. The uterus sheds this lining if no sperm fertilises the egg, and the cycle starts over. 

People differ in terms of their cycle length, length of their periods, and the day they ovulate. 

When do periods start? 

When a female has her first period, the menstrual cycle has officially started. This is referred to as menarche by doctors. It typically affects females between the ages of 9 and 15, with an average age of 12.4 years. 

One of the symptoms of puberty, which is the start of the path to sexual maturity, is the onset of a period. It follows that getting pregnant is probably a possibility. 

However, a person can become pregnant starting with their first ovulation. Therefore it is possible to become pregnant prior to the start of a period. Other puberty indicators include: 

  • Growth spurts 
  • An increase in hip, thigh, and buttock fat
  • Increasing body hair, particularly on the legs and under the arms

2.5 years before menarche is when most young people start to develop breasts. Doctors consider a person to have delayed menarche if they do not experience their first period within five years of the development of their breasts. 

Signs and symptoms of menstruation 

People who are ready to menstruate may also experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a group of symptoms that include bleeding. These might signal the beginning of a phase. PMS is a complex condition that not everyone gets. Some of the signs include:

  • Cramping and pain 
  • Fatigue 
  • Bloating 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Headache 
  • Breast swelling, soreness, or tenderness 
  • Food cravings 
  • Mood changes 
  • Lower back pain 

Extreme discomfort during a period is not typical and may indicate an underlying medical condition, it is esssential to highlight. Similar to the previous point, PMS is not usually accompanied by extreme mood swings or depression that only happens before a period. If either situation arises, a person should see a doctor. 

Periods products 

Sanitary pads are strips of padding that you wear on your pants with their sticky side to keep them in place. The pad has an absorbent substance on one side that soaks up the blood. You may choose a pad based on how heavy or light your period . On days when your period is very light, you can use a smaller, thinner sanitary pad called a panty liner. 

Tampons 

You insert tiny cotton wool tubes called tampons into your vagina.Tampons come in two varieties: ones that have an applicator that you insert with your fingers and other that doesn’t. In both situations, the tampon has a string attached to one end that you pull to remove it. 

The use of tampons is covered in the instructions that come with them. You shouldn’t be able to feel the tampon inside you if it was inserted properly. It might not have inserted it properly if you can feel it or if it hurts. There is no way a tampon could get misplaced inside of you.  

Menstrual cups 

Tampons and sanitary pads are alternatives to menstrual cups. You insert the silicone cup, which is made of silicone, into your vagina. 

Instead of absorbing the blood, menstrual cups collect it. Menstrual cups can be washed and reused, in contrast to tampons and the majority of sanitary pads, which must be discarded after use. 

Period underwear 

Period underwear is made out of absorbent-fabric pants. They have a covering to stop leaks and absorb blood similarly to sanitary pads. They are made to be cleaned and used again. 

Pre-menstrual syndrome or Pre-menstrual tension 

Physical and mental changes can result from changes in your body’s hormone levels before your period. Premenstrual tension or PMT is the term used to describe this. Although PMS could manifest in a variety of ways, common symptoms include: 

  • Breasts feeling sore and swollen 
  • Erratic moods 
  • Decreased sex drive (loss of libido), irritation, and blemished skin 

These symptoms typically become better when your period starts and go away a few days later. Not all women who cycle have PMS. 

Changes in your periods 

Your monthly cycle may change; for instance, it can get lighter or last longer. It’s important to look into this, even though it may not necessarily indicate an issue. A doctor should be consulted if you experience bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause. 

It could be brought on by an infection, problems with the cervix (the neck of the womb), or, in extremely rare circumstances, malignancy. They will look into the problem’s origin and suggest any necessary medical measures. 

 Problems during your menstrual cycle 

Some of the problems that you might face during your periods include:

Cramping 

Before your final period, you could experience cramps that linger through the entire bleeding phase. It is typical to have slight cramps, similar to when someone squeezes your ovaries. Consult your doctor if you are in such much agony that you can’t stand.   

Moodiness 

Hormones are to blame for the mood changes that accompany your period. They fluctuate up and down, and so does your mood. You might benefit from getting enough rest, staying active, and avoiding caffeinated beverages and bad meals. 

Small blood clots occur frequently. Tell your doctor if you need to replace your pad or tampon less frequently than every two hours or if you have clots that are larger than a quarter. 

Cycle problems 

A normal menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days and has a mean duration of 28 days. Your cycle may change as a result of stress, sickness, weight changes, and food. Ovulation, or the release of an egg by your ovaries approximately halfway through your period, also affects your cycle. 

Skipping periods 

A missed menstruation doesn’t always indicate pregnancy. Sometimes, things like stress, illness, or strenuous exercise might affect your menstruation. 

Nausea 

You can get nausea throughout your menstruation. Headaches, diarrhoea, and vomiting are side effects of prostaglandin. 

Summary 

Menstrual cycles vary from cycle to cycle. What works for you may not work for someone else. It’s essential to become familiar with your cycle, including the timing and duration of your periods. Keep an eye out for any changes and let a medical professional know about them. 

FAQs

1. How long does menstruation last? 

The first day of the menstrual cycle is the first day of a woman’s period. Women often shed 20 to 90ml (or 1 to 5 tablespoons) of blood during their menstruation, which lasts between 2 and 7 days. 

2. What day of your period is the heaviest? 

The first two days are often when bleeding is the heaviest, although every person is different. The blood will be scarlet during the heaviest part of your menstruation. It could be pink, brown, or black on lighter days. Although some women bleed more heavily than this, you’ll lose 5 to 12 tablespoons of blood every month. 

3. How many pads a day are typical for a period? 

Normal flow requires a woman to replace 3–4 ordinary sanitary pads per day , but excessive flow necessitates changing frequently. 


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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