All Your Questions About the Menstrual Cycle Answered

Jun 04, 2019

In most parts of India, talking about the menstrual cycle openly is a sign of social stigma. Girls would do without a pad but asking questions related to the menstrual cycle would never even occur to them. However, for someone who has never had a menstrual cycle, there may be plenty of questions. While the questions may vary from person to person, there are a few that are common for everyone. Did You Know? Women are lunar by nature. Which is why, it is no coincidence that the length of the menstrual cycle is synced with the moon cycle, occurring every 28 days. If one's menstrual cycle is synced with the moon's cycle, the person would menstruate around the moon and ovulate around the full moon. Here are some of the common questions about the menstrual cycle and their answers, most women have in mind.

1. What Is a Menstrual Cycle and Why Does It Occur?

Every woman's uterus releases tissues every month that it no longer requires. Every month, the uterus lining gets thicker preparing for a fertilized egg so that the woman can become pregnant. However, if the egg is not fertilized and the woman doesn't get pregnant, the lining is released from the vagina in the form of period blood. This process is called menstruation. The menstrual cycle is a period of natural, monthly changes that occur in the female reproductive system (uterus and ovaries) including menstruation. It is because of the menstrual cycle that women are able to conceive and the uterus is able to prepare for pregnancy. Most women report symptoms prior to menstruation like acne, tender breasts, bloating, irritability and mood swings.

2. How Long Does the Period Last?

The usual period duration is around 3-7 days from start to finish. However, it varies from person to person. Different women experience lessor or excessive bleeding for a couple of days. During the initial months or even years after starting with periods, the cycle can be irregular. Some women even have two periods in a month. Duration of a monthly cycle for most women is 28 days. However, it is normal for women to have a menstrual cycle ranging from anywhere between 21 to 34 days. The flow of blood is heavier during the first 2 days of a period as compared to the rest of the days.

3. Is My Period Going to Be Smelly?

Usually, it should not smell. The menstrual odor is a condition that occurs only when menstrual fluid comes in direct contact with air. When menstrual fluid is absorbed, say through a tampon, it should not have any odor. To avoid bad odor due to periods, ensure changing your sanitary napkins and tampons frequently.

 4. Is It Going to Hurt When I Have My Periods?

Some women and girls experience cramps and other symptoms like stomach ache, mood swings during periods that may make them uncomfortable. This is usually not due to menstruation but due to hormones that the body releases during menstruation that causes the uterus lining to contract.

5. How Much Blood Would I Lose in a Typical Period Cycle?

On average, the body loses about 1/4 cup of menstrual fluid during the first few days of the period. This may be less or more depending on the hormonal behavior and medicine consumption during that time. If a woman is on medications like contraceptive pills or is taking pills to reduce the menstrual flow, it could increase or decrease the menstrual amount or flow.

6. Are There Any Activities That Must Be Avoided During the Menstrual Cycle?

One can perform all sorts of activities without worrying much during a period. However, if a woman is experiencing cramps, it is at the discretion of the women to perform physically straining activities. Cramps and stomach aches may make it difficult for ladies to perform even the most basic activities, however, it does not last long.

7. How to Comfort Yourself During an Uncomfortable Period?

Women who experience cramps during periods, should try and put pressure on the tummy area. Besides, one can take medications prescribed by the obstetrician in case the pain gets intolerable. Some women also say that doing light exercises and walking is of great help. A few others prefer to take adequate rest.

8. Can I Delay My Period?

Many women prefer to delay their menstrual cycle for occasions like vacations, exams, marriage, etc. Many people perceive that it isn't safe to do so. However, there is no reason to worry since it is completely safe. There are a number of pills to postpone the menstrual cycle to comfortable attend special occasions.

9. When Does One Stop Having Their Periods?

Menstruation stops in women during pregnancy and resumes immediately after the birth of the child. The period ultimately stops when the woman has her menopause which is usually during the late 40s or 50s.

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