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Menstrual Cycle Chart: Facts Every Woman Needs To Know

By July 8, 2017 No Comments

Menstrual period, menstruation, menstrual bleeding, menses, catamenia or a period – whatever the name – it’s a part of menstrual cycle and every woman’s life.

Menstrual Cycle Chart: Facts Every Woman Needs To Know

The menstrual cycle is the scientific term for the physiological changes that occur in fertile women.

It’s an ongoing cycle of preparation, fertile days, and cleansing. During menstruation is blood and tissue are discharged from the vagina. It is also commonly called a period or menstrual period. Women can experience a variety of sensations before, during or after their menses.

Here is an interesting fact: Did you know that when a baby girl is born, she has all the eggs her body will ever use, and many more, perhaps as many as 450,000? They are stored in her ovaries, each inside its own sac called a follicle. As she matures into puberty, her body begins producing various hormones that cause the eggs to mature. This is the beginning of her first cycle; it’s a cycle that will repeat throughout her life until the end of menopause.

What is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman’s body goes through to prepare for a pregnancy. Every 21-36 days (the length of the cycle may be different for you), the uterus grows a new lining (endometrium) to get ready for a fertilized egg. When there is no fertilized egg to start a pregnancy, the uterus sheds its lining. This is the monthly menstrual bleeding (also called menstrual period) that women have from their early teen years until menopause, around age 50.

The menstrual cycle is from Day 1 of bleeding to Day 1 of the next time of bleeding. Although the average cycle is 28 days, it is normal to have a cycle that is shorter or longer.

Girls usually start having menstrual periods between the ages of 11 and 14. Women usually start to have fewer periods between ages 39 and 51. Women in their 40s and teens may have cycles that are longer or change a lot. If you are a teen, your cycles should even out with time. If you are nearing menopause, your cycles will probably get longer and then will stop.

What hormones control the menstrual cycle?

Your hormones control your menstrual cycle. During each cycle, your brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland send hormone signals back and forth with your ovaries. These signals get the ovaries and uterus ready for a pregnancy.

The hormones estrogen and progesterone play the biggest roles in how the uterus changes during each cycle.
Estrogen builds up the lining of the uterus.
Progesterone increases after an ovary releases an egg (ovulation) at the middle of the cycle. This helps the estrogen keep the lining thick and ready for a fertilized egg. A drop in progesterone (along with estrogen) causes the lining to break down. This is when your period starts.

When your ovary releases an egg in the middle of your cycle, you may have pain in your lower belly. You also might have red spotting for less than a day. Both are normal.

A change in hormone levels can affect your cycle or fertility. For example, teens tend to have low or changing progesterone levels. This is also true for women close to menopause. That is why teens and women in their 40s may have heavy menstrual bleeding and cycles that change in length.

Ovulation Calculator

The first part of the cycle, from menstruation to ovulation, may vary from 14 to 20 days in length. The length of the pre-ovulation phase is often different from one woman to another – but it can also differ from month to month for an individual. It is during first part of the cycle that fertilization can occur. Of course, regular menstrual patterns can be altered by illness, insomnia, stress, physical exertion, and physical and emotional changes. You can calculate the day of your ovulation using calculator.

This is when you are most fertile. However, this is not exact science – you can get pregnant if you have an intercourse before or after that day. A woman’s fertile period during her menstrual cycle, on average, lasts about seven days: 7 days prior to ovulation (the release of the egg), the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. After this, chances of conception decrease quickly, as the egg has a short life-span of about 24 hours.

Note: The most reliable way to pinpoint when you ovulate – your most fertile time of month – is by using urine-based ovulation tests.

When your ovary releases an egg in the middle of your cycle, you may have pain in your lower belly. You also might have red spotting for less than a day. Both are normal.

Menstruation Symptoms: PMS and PMDD

Some women experience no symptoms during menstruation. However, there are also many who for about a week before a period, have some premenstrual symptoms, such as being tense, irritable, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, feeling tired, cramping, etc. These symptoms disappear during the first days of a period. Severe symptoms may indicate more serious condition, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

You can lessen your symptoms with healthy dietary choices and physical activity. Read more tips on how to reduce the symptoms of PMS and PMDD here.

What products can you use for menstrual bleeding?

Well, of course, I recommend the use of menstrual cups. There are also lots of other products that you can use including, disposable and reusable pads or tampons.

A heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm bath also can help with cramps. You can take an over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen before and during your period to reduce pain and bleeding.

Talk to your physician if you notice any significant change in your cycle, as it may be a symptom of a serious condition. Menstrual Cycle on msnbcmedia.

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