MENSTRUATION AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

 

What is menstruation?

The woman’s monthly bleeding is called menstruation. During this period, the body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. Menstrual periods usually last from 3 to 5 days.

 

What is the menstrual cycle?

Regular menstruations form the menstrual cycle. Having a regular menstrual cycle is a sign that important parts of your body are working normally. This process provides important body chemicals called hormones. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, although some range from 21 to 35 days in adults and 21 to 45 days in young teens.

The rise and fall of levels of hormones during the month control the menstrual cycle.

 

What happens during the menstrual cycle?

Estrogen rises in the first half of the cycle. This female hormone plays an important role in keeping you healthy. It helps you to build strong bones and keep them strong as you get older. Estrogen also makes the lining of the uterus (womb) grow and thicken. The embryo will be nourish in the lining of the womb. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, the matured egg leaves the ovary. This is called ovulation.

The egg travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Hormone levels rise and help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. A woman becomes pregnant if the egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm cell. Fertilized egg will then attach to the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart and hormone levels drop. The thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period.

 

What kinds of problems do women have with their periods?

Period in woman may have a range of problems, including pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods.

  • Amenorrhea — the lack of a menstrual period for young women who haven’t started menstruating by age 15 and women and girls who haven’t had a period for 90 days, even if they haven’t been menstruating for long

Causes can include:

    • Pregnancy
    • Breastfeeding
    • Extreme weight loss
    • Eating disorders
    • Excessive exercising
    • Stress
    • Serious medical conditions in need of treatment

Regular menstrual cycles indicate that important parts of your body are working normally. In some cases, not having menstrual periods can mean that your ovaries have stopped producing normal amounts of estrogen. The lack of this female hormone may lead to hormonal problems, such as those caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or serious problems with the reproductive organs. Talk to a doctor if you have this problem.

  • Dysmenorrhea — or painful periods. This includes severe cramps that may be caused by too much of chemical called prostaglandin. Cramps in teens do not indicate a serious disease. However, in older women, the pain is sometimes caused by a disease or condition such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease the cramps for some women. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms. Such as:
    • Ibuprofen (eye-byu-PROH-fuhn) (for instance, Advil, Motrin, Midol Cramp)
    • Ketoprofen (key-toh-PROH-fuhn) (for instance, Orudis KT)
    • Naproxen (nuh-PROK-suhn) (for instance, Aleve)

If none of these works and the pain started to interfere with your daily activities, you should see a doctor. Treatment depends on what’s causing the problem and how severe it is.

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding — Abnormal bleeding. It includes:
    • Bleeding between periods
    • Bleeding after sex
    • Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle
    • Bleeding heavier or for more days than normal
    • Bleeding after menopause

This condition has many causes. Some of them are not serious and are easy to treat. Others can be more serious. Treatment for abnormal bleeding depends on the cause. For women nearing menopause, hormonal changes can cause long periods along with irregular cycles. Abnormalities with your menstrual cycle brought by the changes in hormones can be treated. It is important to see your doctor if you have any abnormal bleeding.

 

What is menopause?

Menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, usually around age 50. This means that a woman is no longer ovulating (producing eggs) or having periods therefore she can no longer get pregnant. Like menstruation, menopause can vary from woman to woman and these changes may occur over several years.

Menopausal transition is the time when your body begins its move into menopause. This can last anywhere from 2 to 8 years. In some cases, menopause happens earlier because of surgery or other treatment, illness, or other reasons. See a doctor if you don’t have a period for 90 days to whether you are pregnant or have health problems.

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