Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Menstruation or 'the period' is defined as the spontaneous, monthly, cyclical, bloody vaginal discharge that represents shedding of the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) every month. Once shedding is complete, it stops spontaneously. The term 'menstruation' comes from the Greek word 'men' meaning month.
Menstruation does not occur during pregnancy, before puberty and after the menopause.
For women, the menstrual period is one of the basic physiological processes that rule their lives. An increase or decrease in the blood flow, an increase or decrease in the length of the menstrual cycle and midcycle spotting (ovulation bleeding) can be a cause of great worry.
Knowledge about the normal female anatomy - both external anatomy as well as internal anatomy, normal length of a period, normal length of a menstrual cycle, how much bleeding is considered average and other basic aspects of menstruation should help to overcome various doubts about the period. Read more...
Ovarian Cycle of Menstruation/ Period
The ovarian cycle of the menstrual period starts on the first day of the menstrual cycle, which is also the first day of the period. At this time, the levels of all the hormones - estrogen, progesterone , FSH and LH - which are primarily responsible for maintaining menstruation, are at the baseline levels.
The ovarian cycle starts with the growth of a number of graafian follicles in the ovaries with maturation of a single follicle. This is followed by ovulation at around the middle of the cycle. The follicle gets converted into an organ known as the corpus luteum after ovulation. This corpus luteum secretes progesterone. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum atrophies, the progesterone level falls and the menstrual cycle ends with occurance of the period. Read more...
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The changes in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, during the menstrual cycle (period) is termed the Uterine Cycle. These changes occur in response to estrogen and progesterone secreted by the ovaries during the menstrual cycle. The uterine cycle starts from the first day of the menstrual cycle and ends on the day just before the period. Read more...
The changes that occur in the cervix in response to estrogen and progesterone secreted by the ovaries, is termed the Cervical Cycle of menstruation or period. These changes are mainly recognised by the changes that occur in the consistency and amount of the cervical mucus. The amount of cervical discharge is least just after the period and highest around the time of ovulation. It then decreases and again increases slightly just before the period. Read more...
The normal menstrual period should be at a gap of 28 +/- 7 days. That is, a period may be normally delayed for 7 days beyond the expected date upto 35 days or may occur 1 week before the date of the period (at 21 days). But if the delay is more than 35 (28+7) days, then the cause of the delay should be investigated. Delayed periods can be due to a number of causes. Read more...
Scanty Menstruation / Period
A menstrual period is called scanty if the duration of flow is less than 2 days or total blood loss is less than 80 ml. The medical term for less blood flow during a period is 'hypomenorrhoea'. There are various causes of scanty periods, the most common being hormonal imbalance due to lack of regular ovulation. Read more...
Ovulation Bleeding (Midcycle bleeding)
Some women experience some amount of bleeding or 'spotting' of blood ( spotting between periods) in the middle of the cycle between two normal periods. In most cases, this bleeding occurs approximately 14 to 16 days after the last period at around the time of ovulation. Read more...
- Different Birth Control Methods.
- How Pregnancy Occurs.
- Vaginal Discharge with Itching .
- Symptoms of Menopause.
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