The Menstrual Cycle is a masterpiece of organisation. Your brain, your hormones, your ovaries, adrenal glands, thyroid gland and sexual organs all get together to do their part in initiating and executing your period each month.
A woman’s menstrual cycle begins with her first period (called ‘menarche’- average age 12, but can occur anytime between 8 and 16 years old) and continues until menopause (average 45-55 years old).
In a sexually mature woman, the ovaries release one egg each month (or occasionally two, which might result in non-identical twins) at the time of ovulation. The lining of the uterus (the endometrium) thickens up in response. After ovulation, this lining changes to prepare for potential implantation of the fertilised egg to establish pregnancy.
If fertilisation and pregnancy do not occur, the uterus sheds the lining and a new menstrual cycle begins. This process of the shedding of the lining is called ‘menstruation’.While menstrual cycle length may vary, 28 days is taken as the average ovulatory cycle in women. Menstruation lasts for a few days (usually 3 to 5 days, but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is considered normal) and involves the loss of about 30 – 40 millilitres of blood.
Periods vary greatly, and mean different things to different women – to some they are a minor insignificance, to others, an inconvenience or even a challenge. But they are always a sign that your body is working they way it should.
Your body is incredible! This intricate chemical and biological event is actually very cool, and the monthly proof of your vast girl power. So cherish it, and make sure it’s as comfortable and as gorgeous a time as you can make it.
Your period does not prevent you from doing anything and everything you normally enjoy. So no excuses. Eat right, stay fit, and get on with it.