Menstrual cycle

Menstrual cycle is a term used to describe the series of events that occur in a woman’s body each month to prepare for pregnancy.
The first day of monthly bleeding is considered the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

The average cycle is 28 days and is similar to that of the moon; however, the length can vary from 21 to 35 days.

The phases of the menstrual cycle are triggered by the rise and fall of chemical substances called hormones.
The pituitary gland (pituitary gland) in the brain and the ovaries (ovaries) of the female reproductive system generate these hormones and release them during the corresponding phases of the cycle.
The hormones cause a special reaction of the reproductive organs.


How long is the menstrual cycle? When does it start?

In the first half of the cycle, the level of estrogen (“female hormones”) begins to rise. Estrogens play an important role in maintaining a woman’s health, for example by preventing the loss of bone density (osteoporosis).
The estrogens also ensure that the uterine lining (endometrium) grows and compacts.
The endometrium is the place that feeds the embryos when pregnancy has occurred.
As the lining of the uterus builds up, one of the eggs begins to mature in the ovaries.
Around the 14th day of an average cycle of 28 days, the egg leaves the ovary.
This process is called ovulation.
After the egg leaves the ovary, it travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Hormone levels rise, preparing the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. A woman is most likely to get pregnant 3 days before or on the day of ovulation.
One must always take into account that in women with longer or shorter cycles than the average, ovulation can occur before or after the 14th day.
A woman becomes pregnant when the egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm cell (spermatozoon) and implants in the uterine wall.

There are several methods to calculate the day of ovulation, as this phase of menstruation develops some symptoms such as an increase in basal body temperature and increased cervical mucus.
The calculation of the days is complicated because some women have a premature or shortened (less than 28 days) or delayed (longer than 28 days) cycle.
If the egg is not fertilized, it degenerates and is peeled off.
The hormone level drops, and the thickened lining of the uterus is expelled during menstruation.
The processes that take place during the menstrual cycle can be described as follows:

Menstrual phase

This phase usually lasts from day 1 to day 5 and is the period of time during which the tissue of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) exfoliates and is expelled through the vagina if pregnancy has not occurred.
Most women have bleeding for over 3-5 days, but a period of about 2 to 7 days is still considered normal.
In the first 2 days, the bleeding is heavier, while in the last two days the blood loss is small.
Statistically, it has been observed that young women who eat little and are slim have a short menstrual phase, which lasts about three days. It is also possible that they only have scanty menstruation every two months.
A woman who eats a lot and is robustly built often has a menstrual period that lasts more than 6 to 8 days.
The type of diet can have an influence on the duration and amount of menstruation. Presumably, the consumption of meat increases the amount of blood.

Follicular phase

This phase usually occurs from day 6 to day 14. During this phase, the hormone level of estrogens increases and causes the build-up of the uterine lining (endometrium).
In addition, another hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), causes the growth and development of follicles in the ovaries. On days 10 to 14, only one of the follicles forms a mature egg (egg).
In general, this phase is the least symptomatic, the woman does not feel pain, swelling and has no mood swings.


This is the phase that occurs on the 28th day of a cycle of 14 days, but it can also occur earlier. The sudden increase in another hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), causes the release of an egg from the ovary. This process is called ovulation.

Can you feel the ovulation?
Ovulation usually occurs on the 14th day of the cycle. Nevertheless, the exact day can vary significantly from woman to woman.

Some women know if ovulation has occurred because they feel a slight pain in the abdomen.
Other women may bleed slightly in the middle of their cycle.
Vaginal discharge changes during ovulation.
The amount of discharge is increased and the texture becomes more watery due to the hormonal change. This is one of the things that women who want to have children check to know if ovulation is happening.
The mucus test allows them to know whether or not the right time for sexual intercourse has occurred.
Women who do not experience these symptoms during ovulation can find out if ovulation has occurred by measuring basal body temperature.
This increases by 0.5 degrees Celsius during ovulation.
For a meaningful measurement, the temperature should be measured every morning before getting out of bed.
Measuring temperature on different parts of the body, such as the mouth, armpit, ear or rectum, can lead to slightly different results.
For this reason, it is important to always measure the temperature in the same place.
The increase in temperature can occur for various reasons, so it should not be used as the only method of finding out ovulation and, as a result, the fertile period.

There may also be a menstrual cycle without ovulation. This phenomenon is called the anovulatory cycle and can be quite normal.

Luteal phase

This phase lasts from the 15th to the 28th day.

When the ovary has released an egg, it begins its migration through the fallopian tube into the womb (uterus). The level of progesterone increases in order to prepare the mucous membrane in the uterus for pregnancy.
If the egg is fertilized by a spermatozoon and implants in the uterine wall, the woman is pregnant.
If pregnancy does not occur, the estrogen and progesterone levels are lowered and the uterine lining is expelled with menstruation.
The last part of this stage is often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms. There are women who suffer greatly from premenstrual syndrome during this period.

The average age for a girl’s first cycle (menarche) in the United States is 12 years.
The girls are younger and younger in menarche and you don’t know what causes this early puberty. According to theories, environmental factors, as well as high-fat diets and stress, are among the causes.
Today, most girls in the Western world have their first cycle at the age of 10.

What happens if there is no menstruation at the age of 16?
If at the age of 16 the cycle has not yet begun, one should contact a doctor to be sure that there are no problems.

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

Premenstrual syndrome is a group of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. PMS begins 1-2 weeks before the onset of menstruation.
Symptoms usually disappear after the onset of the menstrual phase. Premenstrual syndrome can affect the menstrual periods of women of all ages and the effect is different for each woman. For some people, PMS is just a monthly inconvenience. For others, it can be so severe that it causes problems in everyday life. Premenstrual syndrome passes when the cycle is finished, as well as at the onset of pregnancy or menopause.

Some girls and women are sad or easily irritable in the days or weeks leading up to menstruation. Other young women may get angry more easily than usual or cry more often. Other girls, on the other hand, have cravings for certain foods. These types of emotional changes can be consequences of premenstrual syndrome.

Premenstrual syndrome usually passes immediately when menstruation occurs, but can recur every month. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, and regular physical exercise can help alleviate some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
It is also not uncommon for girls to observe a sharp increase in acne during certain periods of the cycle, which in turn is caused by hormones. Fortunately, the pimples associated with menstruation become less of a problem as the girls get older.

What are the symptoms of PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome includes both physical and emotional symptoms, such as:

  • Acne
  • Pimples on the face
  • Breast swelling or chest pain, especially 2-3 days before the start of menstruation
  • Feeling of fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable stomach, abdominal swelling, constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache or back pain
  • Those who suffer from migraines can observe an increase in nausea and dizziness
  • Fluctuations in appetite or cravings
  • Muscle or joint pain, also called menstrual pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Concentration or memory disorders
  • Tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying cramps

Symptoms vary from woman to woman.

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Isolation from family and friends

Emotional and cognitive symptoms include:

  • Depression, sadness, despair
  • Anger, nervousness
  • Fear
  • Mood swings
  • Reduction of vigilance (attention), difficulty concentrating

If you are pregnant, you will experience similar and different symptoms, but the only way to understand what is happening is to take a pregnancy test.

How much blood do you lose during menstruation?

During menstruation, you lose less than a cup of blood on average. No matter how much girls complain about heavy blood flow, the fact is that most women lose a few spoons to a cup a month. We emphasize this fact, because sometimes the tampons “Super plus” are not required at all.

When do I have to change the insert and/or tampon?
One should change an insert before it is completely soaked with blood. Each woman decides for herself what is best for her. You should change the insert at least every 4-8 hours.
When using a tampon, make sure that its absorbency is appropriate for the respective blood flow.
For example, on days when menstruation is light, you can use mini-tampons.
If tampons with high absorbency (“Super”) are used on days with only mild bleeding, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
TSS is a rare disease that can be fatal.
Toxic shock syndrome is caused by bacteria that produce toxins.
If the body cannot defend itself against the toxins, the immune system reacts and causes TSS.
In young women, TSS is more likely.
Any type of tampon carries the risk of TSS, more than the use of pads.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following tips to avoid problems with tampons:

  • Follow instructions for use and instructions.
  • Depending on the blood flow, choose the appropriate tampon (not the most absorbent).
  • Change the tampon at least every 4-8 hours.
  • Alternate tampons and sanitary napkins.
  • Know the warning signs of the TSS.
  • Do not use tampons between menstruation.

False myths about menstruation

  • Every woman’s cycle should last 28 days.
  • Every woman should have bleeding every month.
  • Every woman should ovulate with every cycle.
  • If a woman loses blood, it means that she is not pregnant.
  • A woman cannot ovulate or become pregnant while menstruating.

The above statements are false myths. Every woman is different.

It is true that most menstrual cycles last about 28 days, but a woman can be healthy and normal and often have a delay. Some women only have 3 or 4 cycles a year, especially as they approach menopause.
An irregular cycle is also typical for adolescents, sometimes the course is shortened, and then prolonged again.
For many girls, it takes 2-3 years before the course stabilizes.
The changes can occur in healthy and normal girls, but they could also be the sign of serious illness. For example, a recent scientific study shows that irregular menstruation can precede type 2 diabetes.

The cycle can be blocked by the contraceptive pill. After discontinuation of this drug, ovulation will not take place again until about a month, but it can also occur later.
Another abnormal situation occurs after childbirth. In this case, the monthly cycle resumes after 40 days to a few months after the birth of the child.
These are normal regeneration times.

Ovulation occurs about 14-16 days before the mensis enters (theoretically 14 days after the onset of menstruation).
The second half of the cycle, from ovulation to menstrual period, has a fairly constant length, but the first part changes from person to person and from cycle to cycle. In rare cases, a woman can ovulate twice a month, once on each ovary.

Conception or fertilization of an egg can only occur after ovulation. The egg survives for 24 hours once it has been released from the ovary.
The sperm can survive inside a woman’s body for 3 to 4 days, sometimes even up to 6 days.
If a couple has sexual intercourse before or during ovulation, pregnancy can occur because the living sperm are already inside the woman’s body when ovulation occurs.
So, a woman can get pregnant through sexual intercourse on 7 to 10 days of the central phase of the cycle.
The determination of fertile days is a method of contraception in which the woman controls the parameters of the cycle (body temperature, vaginal discharge, state of mind, etc.) every day to understand when ovulation occurs.
In this way, ovulation can be assessed and, as a result, pregnancy can be prevented or promoted. You have to prepare accordingly and make precise records of the data.
Some women may be pregnant and have their menstrual period at the same time.
We know that there are cases where women became pregnant during their period.

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