What is Menstrual Cycle?

So it turned out that the childbearing function is activated in the girl's body at a time when she does not care about this function at all. Just putting aside the dolls, the girl encounters a whole series of incomprehensible processes taking place in her body, which immediately begin to be vigorously discussed in the circle of contemporaries with advice from and those that are older. Yes, and moms in this situation are not always on top, because they themselves are poorly oriented in this topic.

So, let's understand once and for all what happens to you every month, dear women, what to consider as the norm, which should alert you. Most women answer the question about the duration of their menstrual cycle with a similar phrase "about once a month, a couple of days earlier than in the previous month" - this intricate phrase denotes the duration of the cycle of 28 days. This cycle duration occurs in most healthy women, but does this mean that a shorter or longer cycle is a manifestation of pathology? No!

It is recognized that the normal menstrual cycle can have a duration of 21 to 35 days, that is, plus or minus a week from an average of 28 days. The duration of menstruation itself can normally range from 2 to 6 days, and the amount of blood to be lost should not be more than 80 ml. A longer cycle occurs in women in the northern regions, shorter in the southern regions, but this is not an absolute pattern. In the menstrual cycle, its regularity is important. That is, if a woman has a cycle of 35-36 days, for her it can be absolutely normal, but if he is 26, then 35, then 21 is not the norm. Thus, pathology can be considered irregular (when menstruation comes through an unequal time interval), a long cycle (more than 36 days) or a short cycle (less than 21 days). In general, the menstrual cycle can vary greatly depending on the condition of the woman and the situation in which she is.

However, in different women, the lability of the menstrual cycle varies depending on external and internal factors. One small stress can already lead to a delay in menstruation, and for others severe depression is not a reason for disturbing the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle of one woman can be adjusted to the menstrual cycle of another, if they exist together for a long time. This is often observed in women's sports teams or when living together in a hostel. What explains this fact is not completely clear. It can only be said that the menstrual cycle, although a clear mechanism, can significantly change in a normal healthy woman, and these changes are a reflection of the body's reaction to external and internal factors.

The menstrual cycle is not always stable

The most irregular period is the first two years after the onset of menstruation and three years before their end (menopause). Violations in these periods are due to completely physiological causes, which we will discuss below.

Where do these numbers come from and why can they change?

The menstrual cycle is divided into three phases: menstruation, the first phase (follicular) and the second phase (luteal). Menstruation lasts an average of 4 days. During this phase, there is a rejection of the uterine mucosa (endometrium) due to the fact that pregnancy has not occurred. The first phase lasts from the moment of the end of menstruation to ovulation, that is, on average, up to 14 days of the cycle with a 28 day cycle (cycle days are counted from the moment of the onset of menstruation). This phase is characterized by the following events: in the ovaries, several follicles begin to grow (from birth in the ovaries a lot of small vesicles (follicles) in which the ovules are found are laid). In the process of their growth, these follicles secrete estrogens (female sex hormones) into the blood, under the influence of which the mucous membrane (endometrium) grows in the uterus.

Shortly before the 14th day of the cycle, all the follicles except one stop growing and regress, and one grows to an average of 20 mm and under the influence of special stimuli bursts. This process is called ovulation. From the bursting follicle, an egg leaves and enters the fallopian tube, where it waits for the sperm. The edges of the burst follicle are collected (like a flower that closes at night) and now this formation is called the "yellow body".

Immediately after ovulation, the second phase of the cycle begins. It lasts from the moment of ovulation to the beginning of menstruation, that is about 12-14 days. During this phase, the woman's body awaits the beginning of pregnancy. In the ovary, the "yellow body" begins to flourish - the yellow body formed from the burst follicle grows into blood vessels, and another female sexual hormone (progesterone) starts to secrete into the blood, which prepares the uterus to attach the fertilized egg and the beginning of pregnancy. If the pregnancy has not occurred, then a yellow signal is sent to the yellow body and it turns off its work. When the yellow body stops secreting progesterone, a signal is sent to the uterus, and it begins to reject the already unnecessary endometrium. Menstruation begins.

With different cycle times, the duration of the phases is shortened - this means that one woman needs 10 days to mature the follicle, and another needs 15-16. Having understood what the menstrual cycle consists of, it is easy to understand what determines its duration in the norm and in the presence of pathology.

Why at the beginning often everything is not stable and then, after childbirth is getting better? The reproductive system of a woman matures gradually, and being a complex mechanism, requires a period of adjustment. The fact that the girl's first menstruation does not yet mean that her system has matured and is ready to work fully (although some menstrual cycle from the very beginning starts working correctly). The functioning of the female reproductive system can not be better compared with the orchestra, the harmonious play of all the instruments of which creates a unique sound of the musical work - in our case, a regular menstrual cycle. As instruments in the orchestra require a period of adjustment, and for all components of the reproductive system, one must agree with one another on understanding and joint harmonious work. Such a spelling usually takes about 6 months - someone has more from someone less, and someone may be delayed.

Why do delays occur or do menstruation start earlier?

It's very simple - if during the first phase of the cycle it is not possible to grow a full-blown follicle that could burst in the middle of the cycle (ovulation), then the second phase of the cycle, accordingly, does not begin (no ovulation - nothing to form in the yellow body). The first phase lasts a long time, until the mucous uterus (endometrium) overgrown under the influence of estrogens begins to be torn off independently (how the pyramid of cubes collapses when it is too tall). The cycle in this situation can be delayed up to several months.

Moreover, in the next cycle, ovulation can occur and the cycle has a normal length. When this sequence occurs, one speaks of an irregular menstrual cycle. Another reason for delaying menstruation may be a too long existence of the yellow body. As I already mentioned above, it lives about 10 days and then begins to wind down its work, as pregnancy has not come. But sometimes it happens that despite the fact that pregnancy has not occurred, the yellow body continues its work and menstruation does not come, and it comes only when the yellow body finally decides to retire. Earlier, the onset of menstruation is associated, as a rule, with the fact that the notorious yellow body, on the contrary, stops its work too soon. This leads to an earlier onset of menstruation. Remember how the orchestra sounds when it tunes the instruments-that's the same cacophony of the menstrual cycle that is often observed at the beginning. Components of the reproductive system negotiate between, so that they get 14 days to grow the follicle, start the ovulation process, and support the robot of the yellow body for at least 10 days. In the beginning, not all stages of this work are successful and this is manifested by an irregular menstrual cycle.

But this setting can be very seriously hampered by the person himself. Nothing so negatively affects the process of the development of the reproductive system as stresses (intensified studies, exams, unhappy love), strengthened sports training, extreme weight loss, frequent illnesses, smoking, alcohol and drugs. Against the background of all the above, quite often the monthly ones disappear and then they have to wait a long time. And the reason is very simple, I would say that there is a simple biological expediency - in extreme conditions of life and when, for health reasons, a woman can not tolerate a healthy offspring - the reproductive function is turned off until better times. Not for nothing during the war, most women stopped menstruating, this phenomenon was even given a special term".

What can we do about it?

I will make a reservation right away that I do not take into account different diseases, I'm talking about some common problems of adjusting the menstrual cycle. Such disorders of the cycle are solved by taking hormonal contraception. Here it is necessary to return again to comparison with the orchestra. If the orchestra begins to falsify it is necessary to completely stop the game, to give the musicians a break and start again. Hormonal contraception does just that. She turns off the reproductive system and all the time she takes the contraceptive she "rests." Then, after it is canceled, the system starts to work anew and, as a rule, the cycle failures pass.

Why is it quite often that the cycle after the birth becomes stable, and sexuality reaches its heyday? The orchestra can rehearse as many as you like, but finally it is played only when it performs its first concert from beginning to end. Pregnancy is the only goal for which a reproductive system is provided in the body. Only after the first full-fledged pregnancy, which ended with childbirth and the period of the breast-feeding, the reproductive system ripens completely, because during this period all the functions stipulated by nature are realized. After pregnancy, the woman finally ripens and all the "unpacked" properties of the body finally start to work at full strength.

The reproductive system should be used for its intended purpose - this is important; Menstruation is not a function of the reproductive system, but a monthly reminder that it exists and still works. Let's go for 30 ...

There is a time, the reproductive system, which on average is allowed to exist for 38 years (from 13 to 51) instead of performing its function is limited to regular menstruation. For information: on average, a woman for life (at 2 births) experiences about 400 menstrual periods and loses about 32 liters of blood, while in reproductive behavior (pregnancy, childbirth, 3 years of feeding, and only then 1-2 menstruation And again pregnancy) menstruation is about 40. In addition to this, the history of various gynecological and general diseases is replenished with the woman's age, and all this begins to affect the condition of the reproductive system and, consequently, is reflected in violations of the menstrual cycle. Inflammations, abortions, gynecological surgeries, overweight or underweight, common chronic diseases can cause problems.

Violation of the menstrual cycle in the form of delays or an earlier onset of menstruation a couple of times a year can occur in the absence of any pathology. As a rule, this is due to climate change or other stresses for the body (diseases, hard work, personal problems, etc.). All nerve professions can lead to either a delay in menstruation, to their earlier onset or to a complete cessation.

All women are different, so everyone will have a different cycle in different ways depending on the type of reaction to stress and the phase of the cycle in which it occurs. For most women, nervous work does not affect their menstrual cycle at all. Violations of the cycle, especially if it was stable before, often make a woman think that something is wrong with her. Not all cases need to panic.

If you can clearly recall any negative events in the recent past that have greatly shocked you, then most likely this whole cycle violation is a one-off and there's nothing wrong with that. If the menstruation is very long (and the pregnancy test is negative), then you need to see a doctor. If menstruation came earlier and does not end in any way, this is also an excuse to hurry up to the gynecologist for an examination. Sometimes a cycle breakdown can occur with very frequent menstruation (several times a month). And there is no need to delay - urgently to the doctor.

But if the regularity of the cycle disappears completely - this is also an occasion to consult a doctor. Regularity is the main indicator of the normal functioning of the reproductive system. Sometimes it happens that the cycle has one duration and suddenly becomes shorter while maintaining its regularity. As a rule, this is due to the fact that the second phase of the cycle becomes shorter, since the yellow body begins to work less. Such changes are more often observed closer to 40 years. This is not a reason for panic, but simply a reflection of the fact that your reproductive system will also change with age, just like you.

Early menopause

This is one of the most common fears of women. In fact, this fear is exaggerated, since the early menopause is rare. It is mainly caused by rare congenital diseases, rare systemic diseases, the consequence of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy for oncological diseases) and other rare conditions. There are situations where, as a result of surgery, a woman's ovary or part of it is removed. Then the menopause can come early because there is little tissue left in the ovaries that could support the normal functioning of the reproductive system.

The early menopause is usually manifested by the cessation of menstruation and the appearance of symptoms of insufficiency of female sex hormones (hot flashes, irritability, tearfulness, insomnia, etc.). There is no prophylaxis of this disease.

Painful menstruation

For some reason, it is commonly believed that a poor state of health during menstruation is normal. The presence of pain, nausea, migraine during menstruation is not normal. This condition of painful menstruation is called dismenomenia and requires treatment. Even if these phenomena are not very pronounced, they can and should be corrected.

Dysmenorrhea happens as primary (most often at a young age), when it is most likely due to immaturity of the reproductive system and secondary - when it is a reflection of a number of serious gynecological diseases. The same applies to premenstrual syndrome. In general, the widespread popularization of this syndrome allows women to write off their sometimes inadequate actions and behavior on the manifestations of this syndrome. However, PMS is not a feature of the woman's personality, with which all must be reconciled. PMS is a disease that has not fully understood causes, a whole list of symptoms and specific therapeutic measures. Manifestations of PMS can and should be adjusted. Monthly illness is perceived as a reality in modern conditions is wrong. If you have such problems, consult a doctor.

How it all ends

The extinction of the reproductive system occurs usually as well as its development. Menstruation becomes irregular, there is a tendency for delays. This is due to the same reasons as in the beginning. Ovaries respond worse to stimuli from the brain. Grow follicles that could reach ovulation, it does not work out - the cycle is delayed accordingly. If ovulation occurs periodically, the resulting yellow body does not work well. Because of what the menstruation or begin early or vice versa prolonged for a long time. Eventually menstruation stops, and if they are not present more than 6 months, it is necessary to address to the doctor. Based on hormonal analysis and ultrasound, it is possible to predict the onset of menopause. Sometimes there are cases when menstruation stops for a long time, and by analysis and ultrasound, the beginning of menopause is expected. Especially it can scare women at a young age. However, this can only be a temporary period and menstruation can resume their own, for example, after a good rest.