What is menstruation?
Every month a sexually mature female’s ovary releases an egg cell that travels towards the uterus through the Fallopian tube. The uterus prepares for a possible pregnancy by developing a uterine lining made of tissue and blood vessels. This lining is called endometrium. If the egg is not fertilized and pregnancy does not occur, the uterine lining is shed and it exits the body through the vagina as a mixture of blood and tissue over a course of 3 to 7 days. This is called menstruation (pronounced: mens-troo-A-shun) or a period. The cycle starts over again with an egg that begins to mature in one of the ovaries. This cycle is called menstrual cycle and is generally 25 to 35 days long.
When does menstruation start and stop?
A girl may experience her first period between the ages of 9 to 14. The exact age at which this happens is variable and differs from one person to another. A sexually mature girl menstruates once in every 29 to 31 days. During pregnancy the uterine lining is utilized to nourish the baby in the uterus and hence menstruation does not happen. It starts again after the baby is born. Menstruation ceases between the ages of 40 to 50 varying on an individual basis. This marks the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life and is known as menopause.
How long does menstruation last?
On an average a period lasts between 3 to 5 days. It is normal for a girl to have irregular periods in the beginning. During this time, the duration of her periods may vary from as short as 2 days to as long as 7 days. It can take up to a year for periods to become regular.
What is the length of a menstrual cycle?