Information about the menstrual cycle that every woman should know

 Information about the menstrual cycle that every woman should know

Information about the menstrual cycle that every woman should knowMenstruation is defined as a group of monthly changes that occur in a woman's body, where the endometrial blood begins to fall, and is accompanied by a set of symptoms, and it indicates the woman's puberty and her ability to become pregnant. 

Information about the menstrual cycle that every woman should know

Menstrual period

A woman's period begins at the age of 12 to 14, but in some girls it may occur earlier or later, and in women it occurs approximately every 28 days, however, there are some differences in the cycle from one woman to another, It can range from 24 to 35 days.

When the period occurs regularly, this indicates the health of the woman’s reproductive system, but in the case of irregular menstruation, it may indicate the presence of hormonal disorders and the woman’s need for follow-up with the gynecologist.

Features of the menstrual cycle

Also, the menstrual cycle differs from one woman to another in terms of abundance and the duration of its descent. Some women have a light menstrual cycle that lasts for a few days, and others have a heavy menstrual cycle that lasts for long days.

The duration of the menstrual cycle usually ranges from 3 to 5 days, and it can last up to 7 or 8 days for some women, but it is not required that the menstrual blood continue at the same pace every month, as there are many factors that control this .

Menstrual symptoms

There are some symptoms that a woman can feel before the start of her period and during its occurrence, and these symptoms differ from one woman to another, and include:

Pain in the lower abdomen: The pain can also extend to the back.

A change in the psychological state: The nervousness of the woman and her feeling of tension increases during the period of the menstrual cycle.

·       Frequent sleep: Women's desire to sleep for longer periods increases during the menstrual cycle.

·       The appearance of acne (Acne): Many women notice the appearance of pimples on the face before menstruation.

·       Changes in the breast: Some changes in the size of the breast can occur in addition to the feeling of pain when pressing on it in some women.

·       Digestive disorders: Some women experience digestive disorders during the menstrual cycle, and this causes constipation or diarrhea (Diarrhea), in addition to bloating and gas.

·       Headache: Headache during the menstrual cycle is caused by changes in estrogen levels.

·       Body bloating: Some women experience swelling in various parts of the body during or before the menstrual cycle, and these swellings fade with the end of the menstruation period.

Menstruation and pregnancy

Every woman has two ovaries, and each ovary carries a group of eggs of small size, and ovulation occurs in a woman during the eleventh to the twenty-first day of the start of the menstrual cycle, a period called ovulation.


During the ovulation period, pregnancy can occur in a woman through fertilization of the egg with sperm, and some women can feel the symptoms of ovulation, which are pain in the lower abdomen or on one side, and the woman may not feel these symptoms.

When does menstruation stop?

The menstrual cycle stops if a woman becomes pregnant, and therefore the absence of a period may indicate pregnancy, which is a temporary stop, as the menstrual cycle returns again after childbirth.

As for the permanent cessation of menstruation, it is in the menopause stage, which can occur after the age of 45 years, and women can notice some symptoms during this stage, such as; Menstrual disorders caused by hormonal disorders, where estrogen levels drop, and therefore a woman cannot become pregnant when her period stops.

Things that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle

There are some things that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, the most important of which are:

·       Mental state: Psychological stress and nervous tension can cause irregular and delayed menstruation.

·       Dieting: In the event of a diet to lose weight, a woman may notice some disturbances in her menstrual cycle.

·       Exerting too much: Exerting too much, such as; Exercising, strenuous exercise, changes in the menstrual cycle.

The average length of the menstrual cycle is 28–29 days, but this can vary between women and from one cycle to the next. The length of your menstrual cycle is calculated from the first day of your period to the day before your next period starts.

Girls get their first period (menarche), on average, between the ages of 11 and 14 years. By this stage, other sexual characteristics have developed, such as pubic hair and budding breasts.

Hormones and the menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle is complex and is controlled by many different glands and the hormones that these glands produce. A brain structure called the hypothalamus causes the nearby pituitary gland to produce certain chemicals, which prompt the ovaries to produce the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

The menstrual cycle is a biofeedback system, which means each structure and gland is affected by the activity of the others.

Phases of the menstrual cycle

The four main phases of the menstrual cycle are:

  • menstruation
  • the follicular phase
  • ovulation
  • the luteal phase.


Menstruation is the elimination of the thickened lining of the uterus (endometrium) from the body through the vagina. Menstrual fluid contains blood, cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrial cells) and mucus. The average length of a period is between three days and one week.

Sanitary pads or tampons are used to absorb the menstrual flow. Both pads and tampons need to be changed regularly (at least every four hours). Using tampons has been associated with an increased risk of a rare illness called toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Follicular phase

The follicular phase starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation. Prompted by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone stimulates the ovary to produce around five to 20 follicles (tiny nodules or cysts), which bead on the surface.

Each follicle houses an immature egg. Usually, only one follicle will mature into an egg, while the others die. This can occur around day 10 of a 28-day cycle. The growth of the follicles stimulates the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for possible pregnancy.


Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the surface of the ovary. This usually occurs mid-cycle, around two weeks or so before menstruation starts.

During the follicular phase, the developing follicle causes a rise in the level of oestrogen. The hypothalamus in the brain recognises these rising levels and releases a chemical called gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This hormone prompts the pituitary gland to produce raised levels of luteinising hormone (LH) and FSH.

Within two days, ovulation is triggered by the high levels of LH. The egg is funnelled into the fallopian tube and toward the uterus by waves of small, hair-like projections. The life span of the typical egg is only around 24 hours. Unless it meets a sperm during this time, it will die.

When you want to have a baby you can improve your chance of getting pregnant if you know about ovulation and the ‘fertile window’ in the menstrual cycle. Read more on ovulation and fertility window.

Luteal phase

During ovulation, the egg bursts from its follicle, but the ruptured follicle stays on the surface of the ovary. For the next two weeks or so, the follicle transforms into a structure known as the corpus luteum. This structure starts releasing progesterone, along with small amounts of oestrogen. This combination of hormones maintains the thickened lining of the uterus, waiting for a fertilised egg to stick (implant).

If a fertilised egg implants in the lining of the uterus, it produces the hormones that are necessary to maintain the corpus luteum. This includes human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), the hormone that is detected in a urine test for pregnancy. The corpus luteum keeps producing the raised levels of progesterone that are needed to maintain the thickened lining of the uterus.

If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum withers and dies, usually around day 22 in a 28-day cycle. The drop in progesterone levels causes the lining of the uterus to fall away. This is known as menstruation. The cycle then repeats.

Common menstrual problems

Some of the more common menstrual problems include: 

  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – hormonal events before a period can trigger a range of side effects in women at risk, including fluid retention, headaches, fatigue and irritability. Treatment options include exercise and dietary changes
  • dysmenorrhoea – or painful periods. It is thought that the uterus is prompted by certain hormones to squeeze harder than necessary to dislodge its lining. Treatment options include pain-relieving medication and the oral contraceptive pill
  • heavy menstrual bleeding (previously known as menorrhagia) – if left untreated, this can cause anaemia. Treatment options include oral contraceptives and a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) to regulate the flow
  • amenorrhoea – or absence of menstrual periods. This is considered abnormal, except during pre-puberty, pregnancy, lactation and postmenopause. Possible causes include low or high body weight and excessive exercise.

Where to get help

In order to maintain the menstrual cycle, Information about the menstrual cycle that every woman should know, a woman must maintain a correct lifestyle that depends on eating healthy foods, exercising in moderation, getting good sleep, and avoiding stress and anxiety.



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