Your menstrual cycle is a monthly change within your body in preparation for pregnancy. A typical cycle is around 28 days from start to start, but it’s not abnormal if your cycle happens to be a couple of days longer or shorter.
After you ovulate and the egg produced is not fertilized by sperm that results in pregnancy, your uterus sheds blood and tissue it had built up in anticipation. This shedding, or vaginal bleeding, is what is known as menstruation or period.
Vaginal bleeding is your sign of menstruation, and experiencing lower abdominal cramps during this time is not unusual. Under normal conditions, two helpful treatments for painful menstruation are placing a heating pad on your abdomen and taking pain relievers.
The average age to begin menstruating is 12 years old, however some girls start give or take 4 years. Most women’s menstrual periods last 3-5 days, and will continue monthly until menopause.
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of emotional and physical symptoms that typically present ahead of your period.
You should seek medical consult if:
- severe pain during
- no period by age 16
- period suddenly stops
- bleed between periods
- suddenly feel sick if using tampons
- bleed excessively or for longer than your usual
Let your doctor know if you have menstrual irregularities, such as bleeding between, skipping or having very heavy menstrual periods.