May 10 2009

Menstrual Cycle

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The Menstrual Cycle is a hormonal cycle that occurs from puberty to menopause in healthy women. It is called a cycle because it happens over and over on a semi-regular basis. The menstrual cycle is very closely related to being a woman, to the reproductive life of a woman.

The menstrual cycle is a complex cycle that is variable and different from woman to woman. The best thing you can do when talking about this is to take your biology text book and tear out the page describing the human female menstrual cycle as 28 days with 5 days of bleeding. It is amazing that teachers around the world that have periods that differ from this, can stand in front of a class and regurgitate this untruth. A women’s cycle can and normally do differ from month to month.

The only way you can get a regular cycle like the one described in the literature is by taking birth control pills. This will regulate your hormones until you fit into the 28×5 model.They can do this by stopping the natural process of ovulation and replacing it with 5 days of artificial bleeding at the start of every 28 day cycle.

In a natural menstrual cycle these same hormones fluctuate with stress, changes in lifestyle, health, weight, medicine, nutrition and a multitude of other factors, some unknown and some known.

Lets follow the cycle to find out what is going on.

A number of things needs to be tracked to describe the menstrual cycle:

  • The Uterus Lining
  • The Menstrual Blood
  • The egg
  • The Cervix – Hardness/Softness and height
  • Cervical Mucus – Type, color and texture
  • The hormones:
    • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
    • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
    • Estradiol
    • Progresterone
  • Body temperature
  • Headaches, bloating and cramps
  • Fertility

Like always the cycle starts with the first day of bleeding or your period

Day 1 – 5: Bleeding. Day 1 and 2 are the heaviest and it then tapers off to spotting at the end of day 5


How do you know when you are going to start your period?

It is important that you learn to predict your own cycle. If you do not do this you will have to wear pads for longer than you need to or you will bleed on your underwear and clothes time after time. Women can predict their period in a number of ways:

  • You track your cycle closely. This might even mean that you track it using a chart paper and pen or using a computer.
  • Some women become emotional just before their periods start.
  • Some women feels bloated.
  • Some women get tender and sore breasts and nipples.
  • Some women get a special feeling or pain in their lower backs, their tummies, or abdomen
  • Some women get a smell in their noses or a taste in their mouths
  • Some women get headaches

Tracking Your Cycles

The best thing any women or girl can do for herself is to learn about her menstrual cycle and track it on a daily basis. This can be from a very simple calendar to a complex computer software program or an online web site. Or Resources section list multiple of these sites or software packages as well as some books.

This page has the following sub pages.

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