Learn The Four Fantastic Phases Of Your Menstrual Cycle.

Who Gets A Menstrual Cycle?

When a female goes through puberty she will start to menstruate. It is a sign of sexual maturity and the beginning of her fertility time where she can get pregnant and have babies.

What Is A Menstrual Cycle?

Menstrual Cycle Explained
Menstrual Cycle Explained

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. 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 you should check with your Doctor.

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 (called the endometrium) to grow and thicken. In addition, another hormone — follicle-stimulating hormone — 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 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.

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.

When Does It Happen?

The average age for a girl to get her first period is twelve years old. This does not mean that all girls start at the same age. For information on average age of your first period around the world click here.

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.

A girl should see her doctor if:

She starts her period before age 8.

She has not had her first period by age 15.

She has not had her 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.

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.

What You Should Know:

A menstrual cycle begins with the first day of your period, or menstruation MEN-stroo-AY-shuhn and starts over again when the next period begins. Throughout a monthly menstrual cycle, your body makes different amounts of chemicals called hormones to prepare for pregnancy. These changing hormone levels can cause menstrual symptoms. Menstrual cycles often change as a woman gets older. A normal cycle lasts between twenty four and thirty eight days.

Article extracts published in Womanshealth Clevelandclinic.

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