Menstrual Cycle

Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle

Menstruation is a women’s monthly period-and when this occurs regularly each month, we refer to it as the Menstrual Cycle. The rise and fall of levels of hormones during the month control the regular menstrual cycle. A cycle is counted from the first day of the period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, but can normally range anywhere from 20 to 35 days long. (In a young teen, the cycle can initially be up to 45 days long.) Most periods last from 3 to 5 days.

In the United States, the average age for a girl to begin menstruation is 12 years old. This does not mean that all girls will start at the same age-this can actually occur anywhere from 8 years old to 15 years old. Most of the time, the first period is initiated about 2 years from the time her breasts begin to develop.

Menstruation continues until Menopause or when periods stop. This usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, and generally around the age of 51.

Some of the problems women have with their periods:

Painful Periods

This problem is also called “Dysmenorrhea” meaning painful period cramps. There are many causes of dysmenorrheal, and your health care provider can help in finding the cause of the pain/cramping as well as assistance in managing them.

Abnormal Bleeding Patterns

This is vaginal bleeding that is different from normal menstrual periods. It can be bleeding or spotting between regular periods, bleeding heavier for more days than normal for you, bleeding after sex or even bleeding after menopause. Abnormal bleeding can have many causes, some are not serious and easy to treat, while others can be more serious. Your health care provider can help in sorting out the cause of abnormal bleeding patterns.


This is the lack of a menstrual period. It is generally used to describe the absence of a period in a young woman over the age of 15 who hasn’t began menstruating, or, women/girls who have had a normal cycle, with a change to not having a period for 90 days or longer. Some possible causes for this change could be pregnancy, breastfeeding, extreme weight loss, eating disorders, excessive exercising, stress or some more serious medical condition needing treatment.

PCOS-(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

When menstrual cycles come regularly, it indicates that the important parts of the reproductive system are working normally. In some cases, not having menstrual periods can indicate the ovaries have stopped producing normal amounts of estrogen, one of the main hormones needed in the normal cycle process. This hormone imbalance can have an effect on the overall health of a woman, and is a leading cause of infertility, or difficulty to conceive a baby.

There are other serious problems with the reproductive system that can also cause amenorrhea.It is important that a health care provider is consulted.