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A girl starts menstruating when she reaches the age of puberty. Menstruation is also an indication that the female is now fertile. Menstruation is a continuous cycle that occurs every month, and hence it is also known as the monthly cycle or period. A menstrual cycle occurs after every 28 – 35 days and lasts for approximately 3 – 7 days.

How does a menstrual cycle occur?

Menstruation is a complicated process. The reproductive system of a woman consists of two ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus. A woman is born with millions of eggs in her ovaries. When she reaches puberty, during every menstrual cycle, an egg in the ovary matures, and is released into the fallopian tube. This egg is supposed to be fertilised by a sperm, and then implant itself on the uterus lining, resulting in pregnancy. Hence, the uterus starts preparing itself by thickening the endometrial lining to receive the fertilised egg. However, if the egg is not fertilised by a sperm, the egg and the endometrial lining break and are released via the vagina in the form of menstrual bleeding.

 A woman might experience following symptoms prior to and during her periods:

  • Bloating

  • Acne

  • Fatigue

  • Back aches

  • Breast soreness

  • Stress, anxiety and depression

  • Constipation or diarrhoea

  • Headaches

  • Mood swings

Various issues related to menstruation

Menstrual cramps during periods are very common. During this time the uterine contractions cause the endometrial lining to break and flow out through the cervix, but sometimes, due a narrow cervix the clots or pieces of the lining pass through with difficulty, causing cramps. There might also be underlying problems such as endometriosis or fibroids that cause trouble during menstruation. Many women also have irregular periods or abnormalities like very less bleeding or heavy bleeding during periods (menorrhagia).

By the age of 60 years, around 60% of men and 40% of women start snoring