Periods 101

The word menstruation comes from the Latin word for month, menses, indicating the frequency with which most women bleed: about once a month. Generally speaking, a normal cycle is anywhere from 21-35 days, with 28 being the average length. Especially during the first years of menstruating, cycles can vary in length and be few and far between, lacking the predictable pattern of older females. Each cycle is divided into four stages.

Stage 1

Each month, the body lines the uterus with a mucous membrane in preparation for a fertilized egg.

Stage 2

During this stage, called ovulation, an egg is detached from one of the ovaries before proceeding into one of the fallopian tubes heading for the uterus, a journey that may take a few days. Some females experience a slight pain during ovulation, but most don’t notice anything in particular.

Stage 3

If the egg meets a sperm on it’s way to the uterus, the female can become pregnant.  But if it doesn’t, the body will notice and take action to dispose of the mucous lining and expel the unfertilized egg and fluids – the period.

Stage 4

The period begins and the female starts to bleed.

This is repeated next month for an average of 400 times until the woman reaches menopause and menstruation ceases.

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