Menstruation Basics - FAQs

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Menstruation Basics

I am 12 and I Find my Body Changing, Why is it So?

You are reaching puberty. Puberty is the process of physical changes, under the influence of hormones that stimulate the growth, function, or transformation of the brain, bones, muscles and skin; and sexual maturation of reproductive organs and breasts.

How will that Affect My Body?

There will be development of breast, hips and body hair. One of the major changes is that you will start menstruating. Menstruation, also called menses, menstrual period or period, is a monthly bleeding through the vagina experienced by every woman. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). The average length of a menstrual period is 3-5 days.

What is the Menstrual Cycle?

The female reproductive system involves the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina. The female hormones, estrogen and progesterone produced by the ovaries, rise and fall during the month and cause the menstrual cycle.

  

A menstrual cycle is the time from the first day you start bleeding (also called day 1) of one period to the day before the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. However, a cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days.

What Actually Happens During the Menstrual Cycle?

In the first half of the menstrual cycle after the menstrual period, the estrogen produced by the ovaries repairs the lining of the uterus. At the same time, an egg (ovum) in one of the ovaries matures. At about day 14 of a typical 28-day cycle, the egg leaves the ovary (ovulation).

In the second half of the menstrual cycle, the egg begins to travel through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Progesterone levels rise and thicken the uterine lining to prepare for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, and the thickened lining of the uterus and the ovum is shed as the menstrual period.

   

So, when do I get my First Period?

The first time a girl gets her menstrual period is called menarche and it starts at an average of 12 years. A girl can begin menstruating anytime between the ages of 8 and 16 years once all the parts of a girl's reproductive system have matured and are working together.

And How is Menstruation Related to Pregnancy?

If a woman has had a sexual intercourse at around the 10 th-18 th day of a 28-day cycle, the sperm travels from the vagina to the fallopian tube where it fertilizes the egg released by the ovary during ovulation; this is called fertilization. The male & female gametes (cells involved in sexual reproduction - the egg and sperm) fuse, multiply and after approximately 6 days of fertilization, these form a mass of cells which gets attached in the uterus; that,s when the woman is said to be pregnant. There is continuous release of progesterone which helps maintain pregnancy, thus giving a temporary break to the monthly periods.

When Does a Woman Stop Getting Her Periods Permanently?

If you are having any of the problems mentioned above, do seek your doctor's advice.

Is There any Method or Medication Available to Postpone Menstruation?

Yes, there are certain medications which help in postponing the menstruation. Consult your doctor before taking any medicine.

For any more questions, discuss with a parent, teacher or a doctor.

 

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