Menstruation, commonly referred to as a “period,” is a unique biological function specific to the female body and aids in the reproductive cycle.
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the uterine lining in a woman’s body. The uterus is lined with blood each month to prepare for a fertilized egg to implant. If an egg does implant, this blood serves as nourishment for the developing fetus. If an egg does not implant, the blood is no longer needed, and is expelled from the woman’s body through the cervix and vagina and a new lining will take its place.
Why is menstruation important?
Menstruation occurs after ovulation, when there is no fertilized egg to implant. Menstruation is a way for the female body to flush out an unfertilized egg, and cleanse itself of the old, aging uterine lining. By eliminating the old lining, the body is able to produce a new lining, better able to sustain a future implantation.
When does menstruation occur?
Typically, a woman will menstruate every four weeks, or twenty-eight days. This is not the case with every woman, however, and some women experience shorter or longer times between menstrual periods. Menstruation typically occurs two weeks after ovulation, if the egg released has not been fertilized or implanted.
What age does menstruation begin?
The age at which menstruation begins will vary from woman to woman. Typically speaking, menstruation will begin shortly after the onset of puberty. Some girls may get their first menstrual period as early as ten, while others may not get theirs until sixteen. Some women may experience their first menstrual cycle much earlier or much later than these ages.
Do women experience symptoms when they menstruate?
Some women experience a large amount of symptoms just before or during their menstrual period. These symptoms may include food cravings, cramping, headaches, migraines, bloating, fatigue, dizziness, and mood swings. If these symptoms become so severe that they affect the woman’s daily life during her menstrual period, she may be suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) or pre-menstrual dysphoria disorder (PMDD) and should seek the attention of her caregiver.
Menstrual Period Symptoms
Saladin, Kenneth S.. Anatomy & physiology: the unity of form and function. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.