Menstrual Cycle

Diseases list > Menstrual Cycle

What Is A Menstrual Cycle?

Menstruation is a normal occurrence for a young woman between the ages of 9 to 15. This is a period which signals her entry to womanhood. Physiologically, some women can have their menses at a very early age however some experience it as late as 17 or 18 years old. Oftentimes, menstruation cannot be obviously visible to a young girl as there is a tendency for the discharge to be light and the period short. In general, women are not usually ready for a baby despite of the fact that they are already menstruating and can conceive a baby.

Menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle occurs between 28-30 days approximately and is broken down into 5 phases. Over time, each woman has set a schedule as to the date when each menstruation would occur however this is not an accurate method to use as the cycle does change. And it is there is still a possibility of getting pregnant based on this notion.

Signs And Symptoms Of The Menstrual Cycle

A normal menstrual cycle lasts from 3 to 7 days. Days 1 to 4 is the first phase of the menstrual cycle. Menstruation happens when the uterus releases blood to indicate that fertilization has not taken place. It is the body’s natural way of cleansing the uterine wall which would have been a place where fertilization occured. The unfertilized egg is also discharged but it it too tiny to be seen.  As a rule, women monitor their menstrual cycle and use this is as a tool to know when they are in ovulating and maybe pregnant or not.

Between the 5th to 13th day, the second phase occurs. This is called the follicular or proliferative phase wherein the a woman’s body is in a stage of preparing the hormones needed. Hormones increase and sends a signal to the follicles of the ovary to prepare the release of a new egg. A woman at this stage normally does not feel anything.

On the 14th day of the cycle, ovulation usually occurs but it varies from one woman to another. It is the release of the mature egg from the ovary and travels to the fallopian tube where it will be fertilized by a sperm. When this happens, pregnancy takes place. The fertilized egg will then embed itself on the uterine walls and develops into an embryo. Ovulation usually takes 48 hours and some women feel some sensation or pain in their abdomen.

In between day 15 to 26, the luteal or secretory phase happens. This is the body’s preparation for fertilization. While the eggs spends time in the uterus, progesterone is produced in anticipation of fertilization and the uterus becomes thick and packed with rich blood for the embryo to attach itself into and provide the necessary nutrients for the development of the embryo.

However, in the event that fertilization does not take place. The egg dies and the uterine lining which has thickened starts to dissolve and exits the uterus through menstruation. This is the ischemic stage and the final phase of the menstrual cycle. Once completed, the cycle begins anew.

Treatment Of Menstrual Cycle Discomfort

It is normal for a woman to lose 10 to 80 ml. of blood in a normal menstrual cycle and for some women, the discharge may be heavy for the first days. In some cases, when the heavy bleeding continues beyond the normal, then there maybe a potential abnormality.

The usual cramps and pains associated with menstruation are normally tolerated by women and can be treated with painkillers. However, when there is heavy and prolonged bleeding, it could be a sign of a problem with reproductive system.

It is always wise to seek the advice of a gynecologist. A woman of reproductive age should have yearly check-ups done where tests and a pelvic examination is done. Most gynecologists suggest a thorough ultrasound and intrauterine diagnosis be done to rule out any abnormality in the uterus and surrounding areas.

These tests are necessary to detect cases such as infertility problems and uterine cancer. This yearly check-ups should start once menstruation begins and should continue well until menopause. When a woman notices any change in her body during menstruation she should immediately consult her gynecologist.