Menstrual Cycle

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Menstrual cycle is a process experienced by every female at one point in their life cycle. In the olden days a young lady experiences her first menstruation in her late teens or early twenties. In recent times, however, some begin their menstrual cycle as early as nine years. The age at menarche (the first time a girl or a young woman menstruates) is widely considered as an important landmark in sexual maturity. However it varies widely between the same people. These variations has been attributed to a number of possible causes such as; advancement in technology, health care delivery, weather and climate change, food, daily activities, socio-economic activities, lifestyle and many more. The importance of the role of menstrual cycle in every lady’s life is paramount. The menstrual cycle enables you to mark out certain activities like, when to time pregnancy, safe periods, expected menstruation days, and also proves when you get pregnant. Keeping track of one’s menstrual cycle enables one to discover health problems which may arise in time due to a change in menstrual cycle pattern. Knowledge about ones menstrual cycle is not naturally known from birth. A research conducted by students from the University of Jammu indicated that, out of a sample of 200 females from a rural area, only a few respondents showed accurate and adequate knowledge about menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle is the monthly process of ovulation and menstruation that occurs between puberty and menopause in women and female primates who are not pregnant (Encarta Dictionary). The key processes are ovulation and menstruation. In the first half of the menstrual cycle, levels of estrogen rise and make the lining of the uterus grow and thicken. In response to follicle-stimulating hormone, an egg (ovum) in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of a typical 28-day cycle, in response to a surge of luteinizing hormone, the egg leaves the ovary. This is called ovulation. In the second half of the menstrual cycle, the egg begins to travel through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Progesterone levels rise and help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. If the egg becomes fertilized by a sperm cell and attaches itself to the uterine wall, the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized, it either dissolves or is absorbed into the body. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period. Menstruation is the monthly process of discharging blood and other matter from the womb that occurs if fertilization does not take place. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus (womb). It flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix, and passes out of the body through the vagina. Most menstrual periods last from three to five days. It is of utmost importance in the reproductive physiology of females. The term is derived from the Latin word ‘menses’ meaning month, and Greek word ‘mene’ meaning moon, with reference to the fact that ‘lunar month’ is approximately 28 days long, and a complete menstrual cycle usually takes about 28 days. Menstrual cycles are often irregular through adolescence, particularly the interval from the first to the second cycle. According to the World Health Organization's international and multicenter study of 3073 girls, the median length of the first cycle after menarche was 34 days, with 38% of cycle lengths exceeding 40 days. Variability was wide: 10% of females had more than 60 days between their first and second menses, and 7% had a first cycle length of 20 days. Most females bleed for 2 to 7 days during their first menses. Early menarche is associated with early onset of ovulatory cycles. When the age at menarche is younger than 12 years, 50% of cycles are ovulatory in the first gynaecologic year (year after...
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