Who Gets A Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle typically occurs in individuals with female reproductive systems. It is a natural process that prepares your body for potential pregnancy each month. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals who identify as female have menstrual cycles, and not all individuals who have menstrual cycles identify as female. Gender identity and biological processes can vary among individuals.
It is a sign of sexual maturity and the beginning of fertility when you can get pregnant.
What Is A Menstrual Cycle?
The Four Phases Of Your Cycle
Your 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. The cycle happens every month and is broken down into phases.
The menses phase:
This phase, which typically lasts from day one to day five, is the time when the lining of your uterus is discharged out through your vagina if pregnancy has not occurred. Most people bleed for three to five days, but a period lasting only two days to as many as seven days is still considered normal. If your bleed is shorter/longer for over three months you should check with your primary health provider.
The follicular phase:
This phase typically takes place from days six to fourteen. During this time, the level of the hormone oestrogen rises, which causes the lining of your uterus (your endometrium) to grow and thicken. In addition, another hormone — follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) — causes follicles in your ovaries to grow. During days ten to fourteen, one of the developing follicles will form a fully mature egg (ovum).
The ovulation phase:
This phase occurs roughly at about day fourteen in a twenty eight day menstrual cycle. A sudden increase in another hormone — luteinising hormone — causes your ovary to release its egg. This event is called ovulation.
The luteal phase:
This phase lasts from about day fifteen to day twenty eight. After the egg is released from your ovary, it begins to travel through your fallopian tubes to your uterus. The level of the hormone progesterone rises to help prepare your uterine lining for pregnancy. If the egg becomes fertilised by a sperm (through sex) and attaches itself to your uterine wall, you become pregnant. If pregnancy does not occur, oestrogen and progesterone levels drop and the thickened lining of your uterus is shed during the menstrual period.
Marvellous Tip: As menstrual cycles can start as early as 8 years old, it is much better for that individual to understand puberty and the body changes before they happen. Being prepared for your first bleed is crucial for a body positive attitude.
When Does It Happen?
A girl can start her periods anytime between eight and fifteen. The first period normally starts about two years after breasts first start to develop and pubic hair begins to grow. The age at which a girl’s mother started her period can help predict when her daughter may start her period.
It is smart to see your doctor if:
You start your period before age 8.
If you have not had your first period by age 15.
If you have not had your first period within three years of breast growth.
Also, a woman’s menstrual cycle length might be different from month-to-month. Your periods are still “regular” if they usually come every twenty four to thirty eight days. This means that the time from the first day of your last period up to the start of your next period is at least twenty four days but not more than thirty eight days.
Where Does It Come From?
Menstrual blood and tissue flow from your uterus through the small opening in your cervix and pass out of your body through your vagina. So when you have your period you are loosing unwanted dead tissue, mucus and a small amount of blood. This “bleed” can be in several different colours.
Why Do Females Menstruate?
Every cycle is a new opportunity to get pregnant. Each month your body prepares to receive a fertilised egg, through sex, and feed it inside your womb. If there is no fertilisation your body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of your uterus (womb). It is a way to clean away the unwanted lining of the womb.
Girl v Woman – Definition Explained
The terms “girl” and “woman” are often used to describe females at different stages of life, but their definitions can vary based on cultural and social contexts. Generally, a “girl” is used to refer to a female who is in the early stages of development, typically before reaching puberty. This stage is characterised by physical growth and maturation, but not necessarily being of legal age or having reached reproductive maturity.
On the other hand, a “woman” is typically used to describe an adult female who has reached or passed the age of reproductive maturity and has undergone physical and emotional changes associated with adulthood. It often implies a level of independence, life experience, and social responsibilities associated with adulthood.
It’s important to note that the transition from being a girl to a woman is a social and cultural construct and can vary depending on individual experiences, cultural norms, and legal definitions. The specific criteria and understanding of these terms can differ across societies and may not have a universally agreed-upon definition.