Monthly Periods

Monthly periods are defined as the time interval between two episodes of menses.

  • The monthly periods are termed as menstruation and bodily changes that occur monthly in fertile women to facilitate the process of pregnancy. It occurs in women between the average reproductive age group of 12 to 50 years and a good symptom of general reproductive health.
  • Regular monthly periods reflects a secretion of a normal chemical substance by the female glands and signal having female hormone like estrogen on board, which in turn maintains bone mineral health, affects central nervous system function, and many other functions. A secretion of female sex hormones tightly regulates the system of controlling female reproduction process which could be reflected in regular monthly periods.
  • The starting of first menses (menarche) typically occurs between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. It is generally irregular and do not release eggs during menstruation for the first several years after first menses, reaching a regular length and duration by 5 to 7 years after the first menses.
  • The average monthly periods length is between 24 and 32 days and a normal cycle is considered to be 28 days.
  • Menstrual bleeding lasts 3 to 6 days in most women, although there is a variation in cycle length from 2 to 12 days after the start of releasing of eggs from woman’s ovaries. Longer periods (>8 days) are associated with irregular menstruation or no periods at all.
  • The heaviest flow is commonly on day 2 of the cycle. The average blood loss per cycle is between 37 and 43 ml, and the upper limit for menstrual loss is taken as 80 ml per menses.
  • The duration and amount of bleeding declines slightly (by about half a day per cycle) in women over age 35. Also women getting menopause (i.e. time when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally) often experience significantly heavier bleeding than younger women.
  • Women will experience from 300 to 400 monthly periods in her lifetime; cycle length is controlled by the rate and quality of egg growth and development which varies in individual women.

Phases of Monthly Periods

There are four main phases of the monthly periods.

  • Monthly periods begins on the first day of menstruation, when blood starts to come out of the vagina.
  • Menses is the 1st phase of monthly periods. After then, comes follicular, ovulatory and luteal phase.
  • Follicular phase starts with menstrual bleeding and typically lasts 13 to 14 days. During the beginning of the follicular phase, women experience low levels of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
  • The ovulatory phase starts with a flowing of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels. LH stimulates egg release (ovulation), which usually occurs 16 to 32 hours after the flowing begins. In this phase, level of LH that causes the bone loss, depression or mood swings decreases during its flow and the level of hormone like FSH that controls menses and pregnancy starts to increase.
  • During the luteal phase, female hormone levels decreases. After releasing the egg, it breaks through the surface of the ovary. The yellow hormone secretes in the body in the female reproductive system formed in an ovary so the process of fertilization begins. In this stage, hormone like progesterone also produces to control the condition of the inner lining of the uterus. The hormones which are important for sexual and reproductive development is high in this phase.

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