Whether you've had your period for a few years, or you just started your first one, chances are there still are a couple of things you should know about your period. You think you know your menstrual cycle inside out by now, but the truth is you probably don't know how your body works. So here are 10 things you should know about periods...
NOTE: Always keep a close eye on your period, and notice any changes that occur in your menstrual cycle. Notify your doctor of any severe changes, irregularities, or pain.
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Period facts you should know:
1. What are periods exactly?
The first thing you should know about your period is what exactly it is. A female's menstrual cycle starts as soon as she goes through puberty, due to the production of hormones called estrogen and progesterone.
What happens during your menstrual cycle, is that the uterus grows a soft spongy lining to get ready for a fertilized egg. When there's no fertilized egg to start a pregnancy, the uterus sheds its lining through menstrual bleeding; known as your period. Your menstrual cycle is from day one of bleeding today one of the next time of bleeding.
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2. Menstrual cycles vary!
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, it's normal for some women to have a shorter menstrual cycle lasting only for 22 days, or even a longer menstrual cycle, that can last up to 36 days. Don't freak out if your menstrual cycle varies (a bit) from one month to month, it's totally common! However, it is always best to consult your doctor and make sure everything's normal.
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3. Another thing you should know about your period is that most women's periods on average lasts from three to seven days.
4. What is ovulation?
Ovulation is considered a midpoint in your menstrual cycle when you're most fertile. It happens when an egg (or more) is released from one of the ovaries. As the egg is released, it gets swept into the fallopian tubes, towards the uterus.
If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell during that time, it will attach to the walls of the uterus, and pregnancy is most likely to occur. If the egg isn't fertilized, then the uterus will shed the extra tissue lining, through bleeding, which is known as your period.
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5. Discharge during ovulation
During ovulation, a woman's body is likely to discharge thick cervical mucus through her vagina. This discharge will help the sperms get through the cervix, to the uterus and fallopian tubes where the conception of the fertilized egg happens. Afterward, the fertilized egg will travel to be implanted in the uterus.
6. The Eggs
Something about your period you probably didn't know, is that women are born with all the amount of eggs they will ever have. At birth, there are about 1 million to 2 million eggs stored in their ovaries, and by the time of puberty, only about 300,000 eggs will remain. On average, about 500 eggs will be ovulated during a woman's lifetime, and the remaining eggs gradually die at menopause.
7. An interesting fact you should know about your period is that on average, women lose from 4 to 12 Tbsp of blood and fluids during every period.
8. PMS is a real thing!
It actually refers to pre-menstrual syndrome, and it affects your body (physically and emotionally) as a result of hormonal changes before you get your period. So if you get the urge to finish that Nutella jar, you're not alone! Besides food cravings, PMS can cause bloating, anxiety, depression, headaches, mood swings, and overall fatigue.
9. Did you ever wonder why we get cramps during our period?
Well, a fact you should know about your period, is that cramps happen as a result of the muscles contracting to breakdown the inner tissue built by the uterus, to shed it from your reproductive system. However, there are a few things you can do to ease period pain, such as taking prescribed medicine or placing a heat-pad on your lower back or abdomen.
10. You could actually get pregnant while you have your period!
Some women have irregular menstrual cycles, and they may still be ovulating while they're bleeding. Also, if sexual intercourse occurs towards the end of the period, and you ovulate a couple of days later, you could get pregnant because sperms can live up to five days inside a woman's body.
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