Home Menstruation Menstrual cycle – 40 years in a circle

Menstrual cycle – 40 years in a circle

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 290 views

Fluctuating cycle

It takes almost 40 years from the first menstrual period to menopause. Every month the female body prepares for pregnancy. On average, the cycle lasts 28 days. However, the female body is not a machine and both 21 and 35 days are normal. Most women’s cycles also fluctuate within these limits over the years.

The female cycle is controlled by hormones. The most important sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone (corpus luteum hormone). The latter is the most important representative of the progestins. Estrogens are mainly formed in the ovary, progesterone mainly in the yellow body (corpus luteum) and placenta ( placenta ). However, two hormones of the pituitary gland ( pituitary gland ) also play an important role: FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).

Ups and downs of hormones

» Proliferation or development phase: Under the influence of the hormone FSH, several follicles in the ovary begin to mature. As a rule, one follicle soon prevails and is the only one that continues to grow. The maturing follicle produces more and more estrogen. The female hormone ensures that the uterine lining grows.

» Ovulation : When the estrogen has reached a certain concentration in the blood , the pituitary gland releases more LH. The sudden, steep LH surge triggers ovulation .

The mature egg cell can now be fertilized for about 24 hours .

» Secretory or luteal phase : After ovulation, the empty follicle remains in the ovary. This so-called corpus luteum now switches hormone production and releases more progesterone. This messenger substance prepares the uterus for a fertilized egg cell: nutrients are stored in the mucous membrane. At the same time, estrogen levels in the body decrease.

If the egg cell is not fertilized, the corpus luteum atrophies within the next ten to eleven days; he also no longer produces progesterone. This hormone withdrawal causes the lining of the uterus to be less well supplied with blood and partially dies off.

» Menstruation : The excess tissue from the uterus is shed during menstrual bleeding.

The first day of menstruation is also the first day of the new cycle: follicles mature again and the lining of the uterus rebuilds under the influence of rising estrogen levels. The purpose of menstruation is therefore to shed the old lining of the uterus and make room for a new lining that will make pregnancy possible again in the next cycle.

Cycle imitated

Hormonal contraceptives switch off the natural cycle. Because the sex hormones are supplied to the body from outside, it stops the production of its own messenger substances. The ovaries are “paralyzed”, egg cells and uterine lining no longer mature.

The inventors of the estrogen-containing pill tried to imitate the natural rhythm in the female body. Theoretically, you could also choose a different cycle course, such as 30 or 40 days. From a medical point of view, there is no compelling reason to imitate the natural cycle. Rather, social and cultural aspects seem to play a role. Regular menstruation is often understood as an expression of physical well-being and normality.

Estrogens – 21 + 7 days

Typically, women using the pill follow a simple scheme: they mimic a natural menstrual cycle by taking the pill for 21 days, followed by 7 hormone-free days. As a result, the blood concentration of the supplied hormones drops rapidly and so-called hormone withdrawal bleeding occurs. This is not natural bleeding, as the mucous membrane structure is influenced by taking the pill and the shedding of these cell layers is artificially triggered.

Progestins – 28 days

Progestin- based contraceptives (new minipill, minipill , contraceptive sticks, three- month injection ) reduce the activity of the lining of the womb. Since no estrogen is supplied (as with the combined pill), there is no cyclic build-up of the mucous membrane. Bleeding becomes less frequent and weaker, and in some women the bleeding stops altogether.

New minipill and minipills are taken continuously without a break. Especially at the beginning of hormone intake, rejection of the lining of the uterus occurs again and again. However, in contrast to hormone withdrawal bleeding in the case of estrogen-containing pills, this is not a cyclically predictable bleeding, but occurs irregularly with varying strength.

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