Menstruation is the monthly bleeding experienced by woman which involves shedding of the uterine lining called endometrium. This bleeding starts around the age of 12 in adolescent girls and continues until 50 years of age. The process occurs every month and lasts from 3 to 5 days. This monthly process is guided by rise and fall of hormone production related to the female reproductive system and follows a set cycle. This cycle is called the menstrual cycle, with each cycle counting 28 days starting from the day one of the menses.
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Though vaginal bleeding is a clear sign of menstruation, the other symptoms include bloating, cramping, mood swings and fatigue. Pre-menstrual syndrome is a common feature for many women and includes heavy mood swings and physical discomfort. It can occur up to 2 weeks prior to the menses. In severe conditions medical advice may be sought.
As the menstrual cycle is a hormone regulated process, any imbalances in the production can cause a multitude of problems from hair loss to fibroids. Some signs of these imbalances are heavy bleeding, bleeding in between periods, extremely painful periods and irregular periods.
The menstrual cycle starts from the first day of the period when the uterine lining breaks down and sheds with the bleeding lasting for 5 days. After the seventh day, follicles form along the fallopian tube which contains an egg each in them. Between 7th to 14th days, the uterus prepares its lining in anticipation of the fertilized egg. Meanwhile the follicle develops and reaches maturity.
By the 14 th the follicle bursts and releases the egg – called ovulation and travels towards the uterus. If by the 25 th day it comes across a sperm and gets fertilized to cause pregnancy, else it breaks up and is shed along with the period.