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The menstrual cycle.

Throughout history, talk about women’s periods has been the subject of stories, prejudices that it is urgent to deconstruct. Despite the natural, vital nature of it, talking about periods is widely taboo…

The reality is that more than 800 million in the world have it every month.

Perhaps people are afraid that they will be shamed for talking about periods, or maybe the thought of the so-called monthly visitor is simply unsettling. Either way, it is time we normalize conversations about periods.

We must destigmatize menstrual cycles, not only in the United Kingdom, but all around the world.

Phases of the menstrual cycle

The four main phases of the menstrual cycle are:

  • menstruation
  • the follicular phase
  • ovulation
  • the luteal phase.

Normally, you ovulate in the middle of your menstrual cycle. If the egg your ovaries release isn’t fertilized, your hormone levels drop, causing you to shed the lining inside your uterus, and you get your period.

A menstrual cycle begins with the first day of the period and ends with the beginning of the next period. A full menstrual cycle usually lasts between 24 and 38 days but the length can vary from cycle to cycle and can also change over the years.

Does having your period hurt?

Beside the bleeding, some girls and women get cramps or other symptoms during their periods that may be uncomfortable. This is typically due to the hormones your body releases during menstruation that cause the uterus to contract so it can shed it’s lining. Other signs and symptoms of menstruation may include headache, acne, bloating, pains in the low abdomen, tiredness, mood changes, food cravings, breast soreness.

Can I get pregnant during your period.?

It’s time to squash that age-old myth: Your period doesn’t protect you from pregnancy. There are a couple of reasons why. First, some women may bleed when their ovaries release an egg each month, called ovulation, and mistake it for their period. You’re at your peak fertility when you ovulate. So if you have sex during this time, it could actually make you more likely to get pregnant.

Second, you may ovulate before your period is over or within a few days after the bleeding stops. Since sperm can hang out in your body for up to 3 days, having sex during your period could lead to conception.

If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum withers and dies, usually around day 22 in a 28-day cycle. The drop in progesterone levels causes the lining of the uterus to fall away. This is known as menstruation. The cycle then repeats.

Tampons and pads aren’t your only choices.

You have more options to help you manage that time of the month.

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that fits inside your vagina and collects blood during your period. Period panties are super-absorbent, and you can wear them on their own on your lighter days or with a tampon during heavier times. Reusable cloth pads can be washed and worn again.

These products can be cost-savers, since you can reuse them, and they also create less waste. In some cases, they give you more time between changes. For example, you need to change a tampon every 4 to 8 hours, but you may be able to go up to 12 hours with a menstrual cup before you empty it.

There are pros and cons to all these options, just as there are with tampons and pads. But you can find one that works best for you with some trial and error.

Hormone changes that happen during perimenopause the years before menopause when your body starts to make less estrogen can throw you for a loop. The time from one period to the next may get shorter or longer, and you may have heavier or lighter bleeding during your period. This phase can last up to 10 years before you start menopause and stop getting your period for good.

Gradual life changes are normal, but sudden, unusual issues like very heavy bleeding or missed periods are not. Talk with your doctor if you notice that something seems off.

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