Know all about your menstrual cycle

As you attain the age of puberty, your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your periods and ends at a time when you menstruate next.  The word “cycle” denotes a series of event(s) that take place regularly in the same order.  So, your periods happen month-after-month.  However, the duration of the cycle may vary:

  • From 21 days to 35 days
  • From woman to woman
  • From month to month

Usually, women have 28 days of the menstrual cycle. And, their menstrual flow normally lasts from 3 to 5 days. But it can be somewhat shorter or longer. The pituitary gland located in the brain releases hormones that help in stimulating the ovaries during your reproductive cycle. The woman’s eggs stored in the follicles of the ovaries start growing and maturing with the help of these hormones. The follicles begin generating estrogen hormone. At this point of time, a woman’s blood is found to have a higher estrogen level.

This higher amount of estrogen hormone in your blood makes the uterus lining thicker in order to prepare the womb for receiving a fertilized egg. Nearly half-way through your periods, one egg that has attained the maturity leaves one of the ovaries. That is what is known as ovulation.

Mostly, women do not come to realize when they ovulate. But in some women, pain in the lower abdomen signifies that they have ovulated. Some women may notice a light-colored blood spotting after one or two days of their ovulation. Once the egg has left an ovary, it travels through one of the Fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

As the egg passes through one of the Fallopian tubes, a squishy and soft lining goes on building in the womb. The fertilized egg gets attached and implanted in this lining to begin a pregnancy, which is confirmed by taking a pregnancy test. If the egg does not get fertilized obstructing pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels in your blood will come down.

And, the uterine lining, known as endometrium, will begin breaking down. That is the onset of your menstruation/periods when the blood and the tissue begin flowing from your uterus through the cervix. The menstruation contains a small quantity of blood and the endometrium.

The bleeding happens because of the severing of fine blood vessels in the uterus as the lining begins to detach itself. In a standard menstruation, you may lose around 4-5 spoons of menstrual fluid. During the first two days of menstruation, your bleeding is heavier as compared to other days.

Symptoms of a period

The average amount of blood loss during periods is around 5 to 12 teaspoons.  However, the blood flow appears to be heavy. Some women may suffer from Menorrhagia. In this medical condition, the woman experiences relatively heavier periods. The condition can be treated with proper medication.

Menstrual cycle and stress

According to a study published in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory that has been done by some researchers at the University College London, women tend to be vulnerable to the psychological upheavals and go through stressful experiences at some points during their menstrual cycles.

Dr Sunjeev Kamboj of the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, believes that the most common problems related to mental health in women can be put to a stop by targeting some stages of their menstrual cycle.

In one of his studies, he and other team members found that during ovulation the women are found to be most vulnerable to the stressful effects. These stressful experiences are cyclical and unnecessary thoughts, the authors added.


Irregular periods and its causes

Prevention and Treatment of Irregular Periods

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