Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
Every girl will have to go through a major phase in her life, called puberty. Many physical changes will start to show on a girl’s appearance when she reaches puberty. Usually her breasts begin to develop, pubic and underarm hair will start to grow and she gets her menstrual period. If the girl doesn’t have enough information about these changes, she might get anxious and worries about these new transformations.
The first menstrual period is called menarche. It usually happens between the age of 11 and 14 when all the parts of a girl’s reproductive system are matured. Each month one egg is released from the girl ovaries and travels through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. During this time, the hormone estrogen stimulates the uterus to build up its lining and prepares it for the fertilized egg. In case there is no fertilization, the uterus discards its lining. This discharge is called the menstrual period. Every girl will have her menstrual period once a month, a discharge of blood from the vagina that lasts 3 to 7 days. The time between two menstrual periods is called menstrual cycle. Usually a girl might have her period each 28 days. Irregular cycles are common in girls. It takes some time for the body to regulate all changes.
Some girls may encounter cramps during their menstrual period. Cramps are common. Researches relate those cramps to the release of prostaglandin, a hormone that causes muscles of the uterus to contract. There are lots of pain killers in the market that can relieve menstrual cramps.
During the menstrual cycle, every girl will experience emotions fluctuations especially at the end of the menstrual cycle. These emotional feelings are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Girls tend to feel sad, angry or easily irritated. PMS usually fades after the first day of the menstrual period. Doctors relate PMS to the variations of hormones levels during a menstrual cycle.
Menstrual periods should not be considered as sickness. Girls should continue their life normally, exercising and having fun. It is a normal cycle that happens every month till menopause. Always seek a medical advice in case you are anxious about your menstrual cycle.