Monthly periods are defined as the time interval between two episodes of menses.
The monthly periods are termed as menstruation and bodily changes that occur
monthly in fertile women to facilitate the process of pregnancy. It occurs in
women between the average reproductive age group of 12 to 50 years and a
good symptom of general reproductive health.
Regular monthly periods reflects a secretion of a normal chemical substance by
the female glands and signal having female hormone like estrogen on board,
which in turn maintains bone mineral health, affects central nervous system
function, and many other functions. A secretion of female sex hormones tightly
regulates the system of controlling female reproduction process which could be
reflected in regular monthly periods.
The starting of first menses (menarche) typically occurs between the ages of 10
and 16 years old. It is generally irregular and do not release eggs during
menstruation for the first several years after first menses, reaching a regular
length and duration by 5 to 7 years after the first menses.
The average monthly periods length is between 24 and 32 days and a normal
cycle is considered to be 28 days.
Menstrual bleeding lasts 3 to 6 days in most women, although there is a
variation in cycle length from 2 to 12 days after the start of releasing of eggs
from woman’s ovaries. Longer periods (>8 days) are associated with irregular
menstruation or no periods at all.
The heaviest flow is commonly on day 2 of the cycle. The average blood loss
per cycle is between 37 and 43 ml, and the upper limit for menstrual loss is
taken as 80 ml per menses.
The duration and amount of bleeding declines slightly (by about half a day per
cycle) in women over age 35. Also women getting menopause (i.e. time when a
woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally)
often experience significantly heavier bleeding than younger women.
Women will experience from 300 to 400 monthly periods in her lifetime; cycle
length is controlled by the rate and quality of egg growth and development
which varies in individual women.
Phases of Monthly Periods
There are four main phases of the monthly periods.
Monthly periods begins on the first day of menstruation, when blood starts to come out of the vagina.
Menses is the 1st phase of monthly periods. After then, comes follicular, ovulatory and luteal phase.
Follicular phase starts with menstrual bleeding and typically lasts 13 to 14 days.
During the beginning of the follicular phase, women experience low levels of
female hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
The ovulatory phase starts with a flowing of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels. LH stimulates egg release (ovulation), which usually occurs 16 to 32 hours after the
flowing begins. In this phase, level of LH that causes the bone loss, depression or
mood swings decreases during its flow and the level of hormone like FSH that
controls menses and pregnancy starts to increase.
During the luteal phase, female hormone levels decreases. After releasing the
egg, it breaks through the surface of the ovary. The yellow hormone secretes in
the body in the female reproductive system formed in an ovary so the process of
fertilization begins. In this stage, hormone like progesterone also produces to
control the condition of the inner lining of the uterus. The hormones which are
important for sexual and reproductive development is high in this phase.