What is a menstrual cycle?
A menstrual cycle is the process a woman's reproductive system Female Reproductive System The female reproductive system is the system in a woman's body with the purpose of making babies. The female reproductive system includes both external genital organs (outside the body) and... read more goes through each month to release an egg from the ovaries and make a pregnancy possible.
A menstrual period (menstruation) is the monthly bleeding from the vagina that occurs at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the lining of the uterus comes off and is released as menstrual blood.
In the monthly menstrual cycle Menstrual Cycle A menstrual cycle is the process a woman's reproductive system goes through each month to release an egg from the ovaries and make a pregnancy possible. A menstrual period (menstruation) is... read more :
An egg matures and is released (a process called ovulation)
The lining of the uterus swells up with blood vessels so it's ready to accept an egg that has been fertilized by a man's sperm
A fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus and starts growing OR
The egg doesn't get fertilized, so it doesn't attach, and the lining of the uterus comes off and is released as menstrual blood
The days of a menstrual cycle are counted from the first day of one menstrual period to the start of the next menstrual period. A menstrual cycle usually lasts between 25 and 35 days but can vary from month to month. Usually, a menstrual period lasts 3 to 7 days.
Girls start having menstrual cycles during puberty What is puberty? Puberty is the period of growth and development in which children and adolescents develop adult physical features, such as breasts or pubic hair, and become able to reproduce (have and create... read more , at around age 13, and stop having them at menopause Menopause Menopause is when women stop having periods (stop menstruating) and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually happens after age 40. In the United States, the average age for menopause is... read more , around age 52
The ovaries release an egg (ovulation) about 14 days before the beginning of a menstrual period
A woman is most likely to get pregnant if she has unprotected sex during the 3 days before ovulation (about 17 days before the beginning of a menstrual period)
What can go wrong with a menstrual cycle?
The most common problems with the menstrual cycle include:
The most common reasons that menstrual cycles stop are: