menstrual cycle is how a woman's body prepares for the
possibility of pregnancy
each month. Your menstrual period is just one part of this
cycle. A cycle's length is determined by counting from the
first day of one period to the first day of the next period.
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. However, a
cycle can range anywhere from 23 days to 35 days.
What Happens During the Menstrual Cycle?
the menstrual cycle, an egg is released from the ovaries.
While the egg is traveling down the fallopian tubes and
towards the uterus, the uterus is building up a lining that
consists of extra blood and tissue. The lining of the uterus
will thicken and, if pregnancy occurs, blood vessels in the
lining will enlarge to nourish the growing fetus. If the egg
becomes fertilized by a sperm cell, the egg will attach
itself to the uterine wall and a fetus will begin to
develop. If the egg goes unfertilized, the thick lining that
builds up during the menstrual cycle is not needed and is
shed during your period. The unfertilized egg either
dissolves or is absorbed into the body. After the period
ends, a new menstrual cycle begins.
What is A Period?
period is a part of the menstrual cycle when the thick
uterine lining and extra blood are shed through the vaginal
canal. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy, and the
menstrual blood that is shed can range from a few
tablespoons to a 1/2 cup per period. This can vary from girl
to girl, and it can vary from period to period for the same
girl. Many girls experience a light flow for the first day
or two, then a heavier flow, followed by another light day.
Some girls have a heavy flow on the first day. For the first
few years after you start menstruating, your period may be
very irregular. How old is a girl when she gets her first
period? In the United States, the average age a girl starts
menstruating is 12. However, this does not mean that all
girls start at the same age. A girl can begin menstruating
anytime between the ages of 8 and 16. Menstruation will not
occur until all parts of a girl's reproductive system have
matured and are working together. This time in a young
womans life is called "puberty
How Long Should My Period Last?
all girls are different, menstrual periods can vary from
girl to girl. One girl might have a 3-day period and another
girl might have a 7-day period. It might take several years
for a girl's period to become regular. One month the period
might last 4 days, whereas the next month it might be 6
days. Some women experience irregular periods for several
years and might not ever be "regular." Some doctors will
prescribe birth control pills to help regulate your
menstrual cycle. Talk to your doctor to find how you can
regulate your cycle if it is irregular.
When Should I Change My Pads or Tampons During My Period?
napkins (pads) should be changed as often as necessary,
before the pad is soaked with menstrual flow. Each woman
decides for herself what is comfortable. Tampons should be
changed every 4 hours. Make sure that you use the lowest
absorbency of tampon available. For example, do not use
super absorbency on the lightest day of your period. This
can put you at risk for Toxic
(TSS). TSS is a rare but potentially deadly disease. The
risk of TSS can be lessened or avoided by not using tampons,
or by alternating between tampons and pads during your
period. If you experience any of the following symptoms
while you are menstruating and using tampons, you should
contact your doctor immediately:
- Sudden, unexplained, high fever
Does Having My Period Mean I Can't Have Any Fun?
Your period should not affect your daily activities. You can
continue to exercise, swim, bike ride, and have fun. Some
girls and women even find that exercising while they are
having their menstrual period reduces or prevents stomach