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Menstruation (Menstrual Cycle)

What should I know about menstruation (monthly period)? What is the medical definition it?*

*Medical section written by: puberty (the process of body changes that cause a child’s body to become an adult body capable of reproduction) should be taught or know the basic medical definition of menstruation and that it is a normal process that females go through as their bodies prepare themselves for potential pregnancy. It is a part of the monthly menstrual cycle (regular cycling of hormones) that occur in the female reproductive system that makes pregnancy possible.

Medically, menstruation (also termed period or bleeding) is the process in a woman of discharging (through the vagina) blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus at about one monthly interval from puberty until menopause (ceasing of regular menstrual cycles), except during pregnancy. This discharging process lasts about 3-5 days.

What are the signs and symptoms of menstruation?

Beside the bleeding, other signs and symptoms of menstruation may include headache, acne, bloating, pains in the low abdomen, tiredness, mood changes, food cravings, breast soreness, and diarrhea.

Whan does menstruation begin? When does it end?

The menstrual cycle is the hormonal driven cycle; Day 1 is the first day of your period (bleeding) while day 14 is the approximate day you ovulate and if an egg is not fertilized, hormone levels eventually drop and at about day 25; the egg begins to dissolve and the cycle begins again with the period at about day 30. Menstruation begins day 1 and normally ends days 3-5 of the menstrual cycle.

At what age do girls go through puberty and begin and start their period (begin to menstruate)?
The average age for a girl to get her first period in the US is 12, but the range of age is about 8 to 15 years old. Women usually have periods until about ages 45 to 55.

At what age do girls go through puberty and begin and start their period (begin to menstrate)?

The average age for a girl to get her first period in the US is 12, but the range of age is about 8 to 15 years old. Women usually have periods until about ages 45 to 55.

How long does a period last?

The menstrual cycle is the hormonal driven cycle. Day 1 is the first day of your period (bleeding) while day 14 is the approximate day you ovulate and if an egg is not fertilized, hormone levels eventually drop and at about day 25. The egg then begins to dissolve and the cycle begins again with the period at about day 30.
Most periods vary somewhat, the flow may be light, moderate or heavy and can vary in length from about 2 to 7 days; with age, the cycle usually shortens and becomes more regular.

What is the treatment for pain and other symptoms caused by menstruation?

Treatment for the causes of menstrual pain depend on what the cause is, and may include birth control pills, heavy or prolonged periods, IUDs, noninflammatory steroid drugs (NSAIDs), for example, ibuprofen (Advil, ), aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and other-the-counter pain (OTC) medications to relive pain and cramping.

What is toxic shock syndrome? Is it life threatening?

Women should change the pad/tampon before it becomes soaked with blood (about every 4 to 8 hours); follow directions on the box to help avoid TSS (toxic shock syndrome), a potentially deadly disease. Call your doctor or other health professional if you have any abnormalities in your period, for example, excessive bleeding, no periods, severe pain, fever with tampon use, sudden irregularities, and other problems.

Picture of the female reproductive system
Picture of the female reproductive system

What is menstruation? What is the menstrual cycle?

What is menstruation pronounced (men-STRAY-shuhn)?

Menstruation is bleeding from the vagina that happens about once a month, as a normal part of the menstrual cycle. It is also known as having a period.

During this cycle, your hormones make the lining of the uterus become thicker, getting ready in case of pregnancy. Hormones also cause an egg to be released from an ovary, which is known as ovulation.

If you don’t become pregnant, your periods start about two weeks after you ovulate. The lining of the uterus falls away and, along with some blood, flows out through the vagina. Periods can be light or heavy, and the blood can range from bright red to dark brown. You might also notice small clots.

When do girls start their period?

Girls have their first period during puberty. Most often that is around the age 12 or 13 years old, but girls can start menstruating as young as 9, or as late as 16.

bleeding. When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. Most menstrual periods last from 3 to 5 days.

How long do periods last?

Menstruation affects every woman, but the experience can differ between women. When periods (menstruations) come regularly, this is called the menstrual cycle. Having regular menstrual cycles is a sign that important parts of your body are working normally. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle is counted from the first day of 1 period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens. The rise and fall of levels of hormones during the month control the menstrual cycle.

What are the signs and symptoms of menstration?

Some women get symptoms leading up to and during menstruation, for example, cramps or pains low in the abdomen, bloating or swelling in the abdomen, constipation before your period, diarhrea when your period starts, acne, tiredeness, and mood changes.

When should you call a doctor for problems with your period?

See your doctor about your period if:

  • You have not started menstruating by the age of 15.
  • You have not started menstruating within 3 years after breast growth began, or if breasts haven't started to grow by age 13.
  • Your period suddenly stops for more than 90 days.
  • Your periods become very irregular after having had regular, monthly cycles.
  • Your period occurs more often than every 21 days or less often than every 35 days.
  • You are bleeding for more than 7 days.
  • You are bleeding more heavily than usual or using more than 1 pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours.
  • You bleed between periods.
  • You have severe pain during your period.
  • You suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons.

At what age do girls start their period? When do they stop?

What age do girls in the US begin their period?

In the United States, the average age for a girl to get her first period is 12. This does not mean that all girls start at the same age. A girl can start her period anytime between the ages of 8 and 15. Most of the time, the first period starts about 2 years after breasts first start to develop. If a girl has not had her first period by age 15, or if it has been more than 2 to 3 years since breast growth started, she should see a doctor.

During your period, you shed the thickened uterine lining and extra blood through the vagina. Your period may not be the same every month. It may also be different than other women's periods. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy in terms of how much blood comes out of the vagina. This is called menstrual flow. The length of the period also varies. Most periods last from 3 to 5 days. But, anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal.

When do periods stop?

Women usually have periods until menopause. Menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, usually around age 50. Menopause means that a woman is no longer ovulating (producing eggs) or having periods and can no longer get pregnant. Like menstruation, menopause can vary from woman to woman and these changes may occur over several years.

For the first few years after menstruation begins, longer cycles are common. A woman's cycle tends to shorten and become more regular with age. Most of the time, periods will be in the range of 21 to 35 days apart.

Periods stop during pregnancy, and often while you are breastfeeding. Some women find their periods stop for a time because of long-term illness, low body weight, stress, lots of strenuous exercise and hormone problems. Some medications, such as contraceptives, might stop your period. This can be helpful for some women, especially if their periods are heavy or painful. Sometimes after stopping the pill or other contraceptive, it can take a while for your periods to come back. Periods stop altogether when women reach menopause - the average age is 51-52.

How long is the menstural cycle? How long do periods last?

The menstrual cycle is the hormonal driven cycle. Day 1 is the first day of your period (bleeding) while day 14 is the approximate day you ovulate and if an egg is not fertilized, hormone levels eventually drop and at about day 25. The egg then begins to dissolve and the cycle begins again with the period at about day 30.

Most periods vary somewhat, the flow may be light, moderate or heavy and can vary in length from about 2 to 7 days; with age, the cycle usually shortens and becomes more regular.

What is the treatment for pain and other symptoms caused by menstruation?

Treatment for the causes of menstrual pain depend on what the cause is, and may include birth control pills, heavy or prolonged periods, IUDs, noninflammatory steroid drugs (NSAIDs), for example, ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and other-the-counter pain (OTC) medications to relive pain and cramping.

What problems occur during menstruation?

Problems with periods can include heavy bleeding, period pain (also called dysmenorrhoea), unpredictable or irregular periods, and premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, which makes some women feel irritable and sad and can cause bloating, tender breasts and aching.

How often should I change my pad/tampon?

You should change a pad before it becomes soaked with blood. Each woman decides for herself what works best. You should change a tampon at least every 4 to 8 hours. Make sure to use the lowest absorbency tampon needed for your flow. For example, use junior or regular tampons on the lightest day of your period. Using a super absorbency tampon on your lightest days increases your risk for toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but sometimes deadly disease. TSS is caused by bacteria that can produce toxins. If your body can't fight the toxins, your immune (body defense) system reacts and causes the symptoms of TSS (see below).

Young women may be more likely to get TSS. Using any kind of tampon puts you at greater risk for TSS than using pads. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following tips to help avoid tampon problems:

  • Follow package directions for insertion.
  • Choose the lowest absorbency for your flow.
  • Change your tampon at least every 4 to 8 hours.
  • Consider switching between pads and tampons.
  • Know the warning signs of TSS (see below).
  • Don't use tampons between periods.

If you have any of these symptoms of TSS while using tampons, take the tampon out, and contact your doctor right away:

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Reviewed on 1/25/2019

SOURCE: Menstruation. Womenshealth.gov. Updated: Apr 25, 2018,
<https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/menstruation>

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