Menstrual Cycle

Average Cycle Length

The length of the menstrual cycle is 21 to 35 days, with most averaging 26 to 28 days.

The menstrual cycle is the time from the FIRST day of a woman’s period to the day before her next period. Girls can get their periods anywhere from age 10 upwards, but the average is around 12 years. The average age for menopause in this country is 50 to 55.

What Are Periods?

A period is made up of blood and the womb lining. The first day of a woman’s period is day 1 of the menstrual cycle. Periods last 2 to 7 days and women lose about 3 to 5 tablespoons of blood in a period. Some women do bleed more heavily than this, and should seek treatment if it does occur.

Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus (womb). The menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina.

Menstrual Cycle Phases

  • THE MENSES PHASE: From day 1 to day 5. The uterus lining is actually shed out through the vagina if pregnancy has not occurred.
  • THE FOLLICULAR PHASE: This typically takes place from days 4 to 14. During this time, the level of the hormone estrogen rises, which causes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to grow and thicken. In addition, another hormone- follicle stimulating hormone, causes follicles in the ovaries to grow. During days 10 to 14, one of the developing follicles will form a fully mature egg (ovum).
  • OVULATION PHASE: This phase occurs roughly at about day 14 in a 28 day menstrual cycle. A sudden increase in another hormone, the luteinizing hormone, causes the ovary to release its egg. This event is called ovulation.
  • THE LUTEAL PHASE: This phase lasts from day 15 to day 28. After the egg is released from the ovary, it begins to travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The level of the hormone progesterone rises to help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. If the egg becomes fertilised by a sperm and attaches itself to the uterine wall, the woman becomes pregnant. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period.

What Are Symptoms of Normal Menstruation?

  • Moodiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Food cravings
  • Cramps in the lower abdomen and back
  • Bloating
  • Tenderness in the breasts
  • Acne

What Symptoms Indicate A Visit To The Doctor?

  • You have not started menstruating by the age of 16
  • Your period stops suddenly
  • You are bleeding for more days than usual
  • You are bleeding more heavily than usual
  • You have sever pain during your period
  • You have bleeding in between periods
  • You suddenly feel sick after using tampons
  • You think you might be pregnant – for example, you have had sex and your period is at least five days late
  • Your period has not returned within 3 months after stopping birth control pills and you know you are not pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about our period or possible pregnancy

What Causes Menstrual Cycle Irregularities?

Menstrual cycle irregularities can have many different causes, including:

  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. A missed period can be an early sign of pregnancy. Breast-feeding typically delays the return of menstruation after pregnancy.
  • Eating disorders, extreme weight loss or excessive exercising. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and on another spectrum too much harsh physical activity can disrupt menstruation.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with this common endocrine system disorder may have irregular periods as well as enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid, called follicles. These are located in each ovary and can be seen during an ultrasound examination.
  • Premature ovarian failure. Premature ovarian failure refers to the loss of normal ovarian function before the age of 40. Women who have premature ovarian failure also known as primary ovarian insufficiency, might have irregular or occasional periods for years.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This infection of the reproductive organs cause irregular menstrual bleeding. Hence why, routine STD Screening is important!
  • Uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. They can cause heavy menstrual periods and prolonged menstrual periods.

How to Keep Track of Your Periods?

In this modern era, there are various Apps available that can help you record your menstrual cycle. Some apps even have in built pre-menstrual symptoms and mood changes, will help to guide you through your physical and mental changes during this time. A simple method is also logging in your dates into your mobile phone’s calendar. I strongly suggest women to keep track of their dates as this will be benficial for them.

Consult our friendly team of doctors @ DTAP Clinic today, if you are experiencing any troubles with your menses and we will help guide you through the treatment process. Never suffer in silence and fear, knowledge is the best treatment for your problems and we at DTAP Clinic pride ourselves in ensuring our patients are treated with the utmost care and dedication.

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