All About the Female Menstrual Cycle
The topic of menstruation has always been surrounded by taboos and myths throughout various cultures. Many parts of Indian society exclude women who are menstruating from religious and social rituals. Such taboos, to a certain extent, do have an impact on the girls’ emotional state, lifestyle, and most importantly, health. The challenge here is intensified by the lack of knowledge of puberty, menstruation, and reproductive health. And so, it is so important to understand the natural event of the menstrual cycle and do away with such taboos.
Getting your period is a significant part of adolescence, a rite of passage and a sign of fertility. It is everything that you would want to embrace.
We’re sure you’re one of those many who wonder why do girls even get a period and go through the trouble? What exactly happens inside the body that brings about the menstrual cycle? Learning about the female menstrual cycle and how it works, can help you identify the changes in your body throughout the month and anticipate your period. And then what’s wrong with knowing more about your own body?
What is menstruation?
The punchline is that a menstrual cycle prepares a woman’s body for the possibility of pregnancy. It is the change your body goes through each month, during which one of the ovaries releases an egg – a process called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes are preparing the uterus for pregnancy. In the case where during your ovulation, the egg does not get fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. And this is your monthly menstrual cycle.
How long does a menstrual cycle last?
The length of the menstrual cycle varies from one woman to the other but on average is a 28 days cycle. However, for some, it can be as short as 21 days and for others, as long as 35 days, which again is both normal. After you get your first period, your periods will likely be irregular for some time while your body is adapting to the changes. After a few months, your menstrual cycle should regularize, but if it does not, do consult your doctor.
Apart from this, any of the following can alter your menstrual cycle -
Birth control pills -While you are on some pills, you won’t get a period at all. Prolonged consumption of these may result in irregular periods
Pregnancy -Your periods will stop during pregnancy. Missed periods are one of the most obvious first signs that you could be pregnant
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) -This hormonal imbalance prevents an egg from developing normally in the ovaries, being the reason for irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. This is a pretty common reason
Eating disorders & weight fluctuation -Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, as well as being underweight or obese too can disrupt your menstrual cycle
Menstrual cycle phases
A lot is going on in the inside during a woman’s menstrual cycle, which has three phases – Follicular (before the release of the egg), Ovulation-period (release of the egg), and Luteal phase (post-release of the egg).
To explain it theoretically, during your menstrual cycle, the thickened lining of the uterus (endometrium) is shed through the vagina. This menstrual fluid contains blood, cells from the lining of the uterus, and mucus. An average period typically lasts between three days to one week.
Follicular or Pre-ovulation Period
In the pre-ovulation phase, your ovaries begin to prepare an egg to be released. You may notice a thicker vaginal discharge during this time.The hormones that are influenced during this phase trigger your uterus to start thickening its lining for the egg to be implanted in there. To stay free of the wetness caused by the vaginal discharge, you could try the Whisper Daily Liners which help in eliminating the odour, leaving you feeling fresh and confident throughout the day.
If you are planning a baby, you should be aware of your ovulation period and your fertile days. Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, which happens 14 days before the first day of your next period.This period typically indicates your fertile days.
The luteal phase begins after ovulation and lasts for about 14 days unless fertilization occurs and ends just before the menstrual period. If the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium is not required and starts to break down. As the uterus contracts to shed the lining, you may experience cramps about a week before you get your period. Other hormonal changes at this point trigger your emotional state as well.
And that’s it! This cycle keeps repeating every month. These menstrual cycle phases explain how a woman’s period cycle works and, helps you understand better the changes you experience, like a higher level of vaginal discharge, period pain, being emotionally high strung, and other related feelings.