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Menstruation – everything about the rule

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 379 views

What is menstruation (rule, period)?

The first menstrual bleeding (menarche) begins during puberty. The bleeding is a sign of the beginning of sexual maturity and reproductive capacity. From now on, an interplay of hormones is repeated in the body in more or less regular cycles . Bleeding is often irregular in young girls and women going through the menopause. Menstrual fluid is made up of blood from the uterus and parts of the lining of the uterus.

The female sex organs

The internal sex organs of women consist of two ovaries and two fallopian tubes, the uterus and the vagina. The ovaries have the task of developing mature, fertilizable egg cells. When the ovary is stimulated by hormones (follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone, FSH and LH), the egg matures. Around the middle of the cycle, the mature egg cell separates from the ovary (ovulation or ovulation) and is caught by the fallopian tube (tube).

The egg eventually travels down the fallopian tube to the womb (uterus). The uterine lining is prepared to absorb the egg through the effects of the hormones mentioned and progesterone (corpus luteum hormone). Progesterone is released shortly after ovulation. When the egg is fertilized, it attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.

If fertilization does not take place, there is a reduced release of progesterone, which causes the lining of the uterus to break down and residues in the menstrual period to be shed.

During each menstrual period, a woman loses around 150 milliliters of blood. The entire cycle lasts about 28 days. Unless the woman is pregnant, it starts all over again. The cycle is the time between the first day of the menstrual period and the last day before the next menstrual period. Cycle lengths of 25 to 35 days are considered normal.

When does menstruation start?

The first menstrual period generally occurs between the ages of 11 and 14. It is also known as menarche.

Women get their periods until they are around the age of 45 to 55 and menopause begins. In total, a woman gets around 500 menstrual bleedings in her lifetime.

Can you feel ovulation?

Many women feel their ovulation (ovulation). It manifests itself as a faint pain in the abdomen. Some women also get a little bleeding at the time of ovulation.

The time of ovulation can be determined by body temperature. At the time of ovulation, it increases by 0.5 degrees. This is used in the temperature method for natural contraception. If the body temperature rises, ovulation has taken place. This happens about eight to ten days after each menstrual period (corresponds to about the 14th day of the cycle). This is also the most fertile time in the cycle.

In the middle of the cycle, the vaginal discharge becomes mucous and stringy. The consistency of the mucus can also be used to tell when ovulation occurs.

What factors influence menstruation?

The menstrual cycle is a very complex process involving many hormones, the female reproductive system and the nervous system.

If your cycle is irregular, your doctor should measure the hormone levels in your blood and see if they are in balance.

Body weight also plays a role in the menstrual cycle. Being underweight often brings hormone release and thus menstruation to a standstill. Recent studies show that extreme obesity leads to irregular menstrual bleeding. Compared to women who are at their ideal weight, overweight women do not get pregnant as easily . Proper nutrition is therefore particularly important for fertility.

Stress is another factor that affects hormone secretion and menstruation. In some cases, there is even no menstruation at all. If women fear being pregnant, the stress sometimes leads to the later onset of menstruation. Mental and physical balance have a positive effect on regular days.

Regular sport as well as mental and physical balance are most conducive to pain-free and reasonably pleasant “regular days”. Too much exercise and overexertion can affect hormone secretion to such an extent that menstruation stops altogether.

What problems can arise during menstruation?

Women feel very differently during menstruation. Many have no problems at all, others are severely restricted in their activities due to extreme pain.

The following symptoms can occur:

  • Spasmodic contractions (painful tightening) in the abdomen
  • abdominal pain
  • back pain
  • Nausea, possibly with vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • sweats
  • tiredness and lack of energy

Pain and Discomfort: Why?

During menstruation, prostaglandins are released in the uterus. These are hormone-like substances that trigger various regulatory mechanisms in the body or interfere with them. In the uterus, for example, they can cause contractions that are perceived as painful. Blood and mucous membrane residues are excreted by the contractions. Other causes of painful periods can be previous infections or benign muscle knots in the wall of the uterus ( fibroids ). This is especially true for slightly older women.

Pronounced menstrual pain can be successfully treated with combination preparations of estrogen and progestin (such as the pill or vaginal ring ). Pure progestin preparations such as the new minipill, minipill , the contraceptive stick or the three- month injection are also suitable for this. The hormones cause the lining of the uterus to build up less, the area of ​​the wound is smaller when the residue comes off during the bleeding, and the bleeding is weaker and shorter overall.

Tips for well-being

There are several things you can do to feel better about your period:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee, black tea and cola.
  • Avoid stress and relax.
  • Let your partner massage you.
  • Exercise, but don’t overexert your body.
  • Keep warm and have warm drinks.
  • If you are in particularly severe pain, take pain-relieving medication. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

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