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Everything you need to know about menstruation

  1. Sooner or later every girl will have to deal with it and until a certain age it is a monthly recurring phenomenon: menstruation. Very natural and a sign of fertility, but it can also cause problems. Do you actually know what exactly happens in your body when the time comes (again)?

  1. Menstruation - or period - is a periodic bleeding from the endometrium. It occurs monthly in women of childbearing age. Menstruation starts between the ages of 10 and 16 (average 12 years) and the last around 51 years. Periods usually last 4 to 5 days. Every month the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. The uterus will then take up a new egg and the wall of your uterus will thicken. On average, a woman ovulates 500 times, which usually turns out to be unnecessary. About two weeks later, the uterus loses its lining, the endometrium and sheds it with the unfertilized egg. In the year after the first menstruation, most girls do not ovulate yet.

  2. Menstruation - or period - is a periodic bleeding from the endometrium. It occurs monthly in women of childbearing age. The first menstrual period starts between the ages of 10 and 16 (average 12 years) and the last around 51 years. Periods usually last 4 to 5 days. Every month the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. The uterus will then take up a new egg and the wall of your uterus will thicken. On average, a woman ovulates 500 times, which usually turns out to be unnecessary. About two weeks later, the uterus loses its lining, the endometrium and sheds it with the unfertilized egg. In the year after the first menstruation, most girls do not ovulate yet.

The cycle

  1. All this happens over a period of about four weeks: the menstrual cycle. A normal cycle can be divided into two phases: the follicular and the luteal phase. In this first phase the pituitary gland secretes the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Follicles are the cavities in your ovaries that are filled with fluid. Each follicle contains an undeveloped egg. Under the influence of the FSH, a number of follicles develop and produce the hormone estrogen. This hormone prepares the uterus for the possible arrival of a fertilized egg. Eventually, one follicle will continue to grow, and if it is large enough, the pituitary gland will produce the luteinizing hormone. Within 36 to 48 hours after that ovulation takes place, the ovulation. This is the time when the woman can be conceived. After ovulation, the luteal phase begins. The egg has left the follicle and what is left is the yellow body (corpus luteum). The egg can survive in the uterus for up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, the yellow body produces progesterone and estrogen, making the endometrium more suitable for implantation. When implanted, the placenta eventually takes over the formation of the hormones. If this does not happen, a decrease in the amount of estrogen and progesterone will cause the uterus to shed the mucous membrane, along with the unfertilized egg. This is your period.

  2. All this happens over a period of about four weeks: the menstrual cycle. A normal cycle can be divided into two phases: the follicular and the luteal phase. In this first phase, the pituitary gland secretes the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Follicles are the cavities in your ovaries that are filled with fluid. Each follicle contains an undeveloped egg. Under the influence of the FSH, a number of follicles develop and produce the hormone estrogen. This hormone ensures that the uterus prepares for the possible arrival of a fertilized egg. Eventually, one follicle will continue to grow, and if it is large enough, the pituitary gland will produce the luteinizing hormone. Within 36 to 48 hours after that ovulation takes place, the ovulation. This is when the woman can be conceived. After ovulation, the luteal phase begins. The egg has left the follicle and what is left is the yellow body (corpus luteum). The egg can survive in the uterus for up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, the yellow body produces progesterone and estrogen, making the endometrium more suitable for implantation. When implanted, the placenta eventually takes over the formation of the hormones. If this does not happen, a decrease in the amount of estrogen and progesterone will cause the uterus to shed the mucous membrane, along with the unfertilized egg. This is your period.

Complaints

  1. The menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period. You then lose about 50 milliliters of blood. Menstruation is painful in more than half of the women. You may suffer from abdominal pain, which are often cramps in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Headaches and nausea are also common. The stomach pain is often the most severe in young girls. The use of the pill can reduce the complaints. Even after the birth of the first child, the pain often subsides. Ovulation can also be painful. Many women think they are ovulating on the 14th day, but this is just an average. Your ovulation can differ per cycle. Some women feel ovulation - often in the form of a burst of pain lasting from minutes to hours - but most don't notice it at all. If the amount of hormones in your body decreases after ovulation, you can develop premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You usually experience these complaints in the week before your period. Possibilities are psychological complaints (emotional, easily irritated or depression), painful breasts, a bloated feeling, feeling weak and unwell, insomnia, nervousness, water retention, skin problems and headaches. Usually these complaints disappear as soon as the period starts.

  2. The menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period. You then lose about 50 milliliters of blood. Menstruation is painful in more than half of the women. You may suffer from abdominal pain, which are often cramps in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Headaches and nausea are also common. The stomach pain is often most severe in young girls. The use of the pill can reduce the complaints. Even after the birth of the first child, the pain often subsides. Ovulation can also be painful. Many women think they are ovulating on the 14th day, but this is just an average. Your ovulation can differ per cycle. Some women feel ovulation - often in the form of a burst of pain lasting from a few minutes to hours - but most don't notice it at all. If the amount of hormones in your body decreases after ovulation, you can develop premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You usually experience these complaints in the week before your period. Possibilities are psychological complaints (emotional, easily irritated or depression), painful breasts, bloating, feeling weak and unwell, insomnia, nervousness, fluid retention, skin problems and headaches. Usually these complaints disappear as soon as the period starts.

Do it yourself?

  1. Against the main complaint - blood loss - there are of course sanitary towels and tampons. In all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, it is always good to ensure sufficient rest and relaxation during menstruation. A hot water bottle or bath sometimes relieves stomach or back pain. You can also use paracetamol for mild stomach pain. Ibuprofen or naproxen are more effective for severe stomach cramps.

To the doctor

  1. If you have a lot of trouble with menstruation, it is sometimes wise to consult your doctor. In some cases it is worthwhile to start using the contraceptive pill - or another method of contraception. In case of serious complaints, an irregular cycle or abnormal blood loss, it is also good to ask your doctor for advice. Severe pain complaints can be caused by, for example, fibroids, polyps, pelvic inflammation, endometriosis, thyroid problems, blood clotting disorders or an IUD. Heavy bleeding during your period can also have a significant impact on your life, and no period does not always mean pregnancy right away. Incidentally, an irregular cycle can also be a sign of approaching menopause.

Contraceptive Pill

  1. When you use the contraceptive pill, there is no menstrual cycle. There is no ovulation. You can, however, suffer from a withdrawal bleeding in the gap week. However, this is not a period.



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