is Menstruation ?
Also commonly known
as the menstrual period or monthly 'period', it
is a normal biological and physiological function
of the female body. In essence, it is the discharge
of blood and tissue from the vagina at monthly
intervals. Typically the cycle lasts 28 days,
but cycles varying from 24 days to 35 days are
not uncommon. In the first year or so the cycles
can be quite irregular. There can be no fixed
pattern to it and a few months may pass between
the first few periods. But there is no need for
alarm. This is a common occurrence.
When does it start?
The beginning of menstruation, known as menarche
may occur sometime between the ages of 10 years
- 16 years. Just as no two individuals are alike,
neither are the menstrual patterns of any two
girls. Each body is different with different patterns
and rhythm, so some may start as early as 9 years
while others as late as 16 years. Menarche is
a major milestone in a young girl's life, indicating
the onset of the reproductive cycle in females.
However, while a girl can technically bear children
after achieving menarche, for all practical purposes
she is underdeveloped and immature for the role
of motherhood both, physically as well as psychologically.
The menstrual cycle continues uninterruptedly
month after month, except during pregnancies or
for specific health reasons, until menopause.
Menopause occurs when a woman is in her 40s to
50s and it is when the monthly cycles cease to
a lot of changes are happening at menarche in
your daughter, a number of internal changes also
occur. Her reproductive system has been developing
in the lower abdomen and it is not something your
daughter is aware of. A pear shaped organ called
the uterus also known as the womb. It has a cavity
where the babies grow before they are born.
The uterus is connected on either side by the
fallopian tubes to two small glands called the
ovaries, which has two functions :
* To produce the female hormone oestrogen.
* To produce the female egg cells, called Ova.
In the fallopian tube the female egg cell and
male egg cell unite to form the embryo, which
then travels through the fallopian tubes to the
uterus, to get its nourishment.
the process of Menstruation
A small gland located in the base of the brain,
called the pituitary gland, which causes a play
of various hormones triggering menstruation. The
pituitary gland produces chemicals that act like
messengers, travelling in the blood to the ovaries.
Inside the body, the reproductive system begins
to function. During each monthly cycle, one of
the ovaries releases an egg cell. It enters the
nearby fallopian tube and travels towards the
uterus. Meanwhile the hormone
oestrogen has been busy preparing the uterus to
receive the embryo, by developing a thick lining
of blood and nutrient filled tissue called the
endometrium, which provides the embryo with immediate
nutrition required for its survival and growth.
However, if the egg cell is not fertilized and
the embryo is not formed then the lining of the
uterus is not needed to develop, so the lining
of the uterus will disintegrate causing bleeding
and this sheds from the uterus through the vagina
and out of the vaginal opening as menstrual blood.
This is called Menstruation. The time between
the beginning and end of the menstrual flow is
called as the menstrual period. The length of
each menstrual period varies from person to person,
as does the amount of menstrual flow. Usually
a period lasts from three to five days, though
variations from two to eight days are also common.
Each time a girl gets her period, a new cycle
begins. The cycle usually lasts about 28 days,
but the length of the cycle may also vary. Each
girl's menstrual cycle can be different, with
cycles as short as 24 days to as long as 35 days.
This cycle repeats month after month. Generally
a woman keeps to her individual established pattern,
although stress, illness or strenuous exercises
may alter her personal cycle.
to calculate the Monthly Menstrual Cycle?
Mark with an 'X' or a red dot, the first day of
the current menstrual cycle.
next month, circle the first day of the
the days between the first day of the last
period and the first day of the next one.
The number of days between the two dates
will be the menstrual cycle duration. If
the number is 28 days, the next period will
probably follow after 28 days - so if the
first day of the last cycle was 5th of April,
the next period can start on 2nd or 3rd
Irregularities that can
occur during Menstruation
As mentioned earlier, the menstrual cycle will
typically be between 28 to 30 days. In the first
year or two following menarche, your daughter
may have her period at irregular intervals, but
that's nothing to worry about as it usually settles
down. She however may need frequent assurance,
since young girls are often concerned about having
irregular cycles. They need to understand that
the body needs time to develop a regular pattern.
A change in environment or routine or any emotional
stress or illness may upset the cycle, causing
the period to begin later or earlier than expected.
Apprehension about a forthcoming exam, excitement
about a family wedding, a crash diet all these
situations can disturb an established pattern.
However, if the periods continue to be irregular
even otherwise, you should consult a gynaecologist.
Some conditions like those described below, may
indicate that a problem with menstruation exists
and should be referred to gynaecologists.
has not begun by age 17 - Primary Amenorrhea
has occurred and stopped briefly like in pregnancy
some illnesses or conditions of stress - Secondary
flow - Menorrhagia
||Scanty flow -
irregular menstrual periods - Metroragia