What is Menstruation?
Menstruation is a woman’s monthly period of bleeding, often called your “periods”. When you menstruate, your body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of your uterus. Menstrual blood and tissue flow from your uterus through the small opening in your cervix and pass out of your body through your vagina. During the monthly menstrual cycle, the uterus lining builds up to prepare for pregnancy. If you do not get pregnant, estrogen and progesterone hormone levels begin falling. Very low levels of estrogen and progesterone tell your body to begin menstruation.
The first period usually begins between 12 and 15 years of age, a point in time known as menarche. They may occasionally start as early as 8, and this onset may still be normal. The average age of the first period is generally later in the developing world and earlier in developed world. The typical length of time between the first day of one period and the first day of the next is 21 to 35 days in adults. Menstruation stops occurring after menopause which usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age.
The menstrual cycle is the monthly hormonal cycle a female’s body goes through to prepare for pregnancy. Your menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of your period up to the first day of your next period. Your hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) usually change throughout the menstrual cycle and can cause menstrual symptoms. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg — a process called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.
Causes of Menstrual Cycle Irregularities
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding.
- Eating disorders, extreme weight loss or excessive exercising.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Premature ovarian failure.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- Uterine fibroids.
Prevention of Menstruation Irregularities
- Your periods become erratic after having been regular.
- You bleed for more than seven days.
- You bleed more heavily than usual or soak through more than one pad or tampon every hour or two.
- Your periods are less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart.
- Bleed between periods.
- Develop severe pain during your period.