The life of a woman, from puberty to menopause, is punctuated by her hormonal cycles and therefore her periods. But what are they for? How does a menstrual cycle work ? What to do in case of painful periods, or abnormal bleeding ?
In this file, we will explain what happens in a woman's body during her period. We will also focus on the most common disorders experienced by some women during their menstruation before answering some practical questions about hygiene and the management of the rules on a daily basis: sex, sport and hygiene protection ... You go all know !
What is the rules?
At the end of each cycle, the uterus gets rid of the superficial layer of its mucosa (endometrium) which, having not received a fertilized ovum, causes a blood flow that usually lasts 3 to 7 days depending on the women.
And each month, the uterus prepares a new mucosa that can accommodate a fertilized egg (pregnancy) ... or not (rules).
The first rules appear with puberty, usually between 10 and 16 years. In France, the average age is 13 years old. The rules reflect the presence of an ovulation cycle and therefore the ability to procreate.In other words, no ovulation, no rules. This is what happens during menopause, or if the contraceptive pill is taken without interruption.
Warning: the rules that occur between two pill pads are "artificial": they are due to the sudden drop in hormone levels, caused by stopping the use of the pill.
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The word menstruation comes from the Latin mensis "month" (and the Greek mene, "the moon"), so it is perhaps this etymology that led to compare menstrual cycles to lunar cycles.
The beginning of a cycle is marked by the first day of the rules and ends on the first day of the next rules. It is composed of four phases:
- Follicular phase: Significant production of estrogen and thickening of the uterine lining.
- The ovulation phase: A mature egg, located in one of the ovaries, is expelled, and then moves into one of the fallopian tubes to the body of the uterus.
- The progestogen phase: secretion of progesterone, and preparation of the uterus to receive the ovum.
- The menstrual phase: If the egg is not fertilized, it will eventually disappear and the surplus uterine lining will be evacuated: these are the rules.
The cycle lasts quite often 28 days, but can vary from one woman to another, and or course of a woman's life. Sometimes shorter, the cycle lasts 21-22 days ... sometimes much longer up to 34-35 days.
To better understand, here is an overview of the woman's internal sexual organs:
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Read also :
Learn more about the menstrual cycle
The follicular phase and ovarian stimulation: how is it going?
Questions gynéco: All our articles on the health of women