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Understanding The Menstrual Cycle And Common Menstrual Problems

The menstrual period is a natural cycle that occurs within the female reproductive system. It involves the shed of uterine lining via the vagina. The menstrual cycles are regulated by the complex interplay between hormones. They can last from 21 to 35 day. The menstrual period is a complex process that involves many hormones. These include estrogen, progesterone and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) as well as luteinizing hormonal (LH). These hormones are responsible for stimulating the release and growth of an egg in the ovary as well as preparing the uterus to receive a fertilized ovum. The length of a woman’s menstrual period can vary, depending on factors like age, stress, physical activity, and medical conditions. The average menstrual period is 28 days. A new cycle begins on the first day menstruation.

The menstrual period can be divided into 4 phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal.

Menstrual Phase

Menstrual period is when the uterus sheds the lining. This results in bleeding lasting from three to seven day. The menstrual cycle, or menstrual period as it is also called, involves the uterine lining being shed through the vagina. This can result in bleeding lasting anywhere between three and seven days. The shedding of uterine lining is caused by the decrease of estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. Menstruation is the first part of the menstrual period and the start of a new menstrual cycle. Women may experience cramps, bloating and fatigue during this phase. These symptoms are due to changes in hormone levels as well as the physical process of shedding uterine lining.

Follicular Phase

The follicular period begins after menstruation and lasts approximately 14 days. The body produces hormones to stimulate follicle growth in the ovaries during this phase. As they grow, these follicles produce estrogen which thickens the uterine lining. One dominant follicle continues to mature and grow, while all the other follicles regress. The follicular stage can last anywhere from 14 to 28 days, depending on the cycle. The rise in estrogen levels eventually leads to an increase in luteinizing (LH), resulting in ovulation.


When an egg travels through the fallopian tubes, it is called ovulation. It usually happens around the 14th day of the menstrual period, although the timing may vary from cycle to cycle and woman to woman. The pituitary gland responds to estrogen by producing a surge in luteinizing (LH) hormone. If sexual activity occurs at the time of ovulation, the egg can be fertilized. The egg will only last around 24 hours after ovulation. If it isn’t fertilized, the egg will decompose and be absorbed into the body.

Luteal Phase

The luteal period begins 14 days after ovulation. During this period, the body produces hormones to thicken the uterine wall in preparation for a possible pregnancy. The ruptured follicle that released the egg in the ovary transforms during this phase into the corpus-luteum. This structure produces progesterone, and a tiny amount of estrogen. These hormones thicken the uterine wall and prepare it for pregnancy. The egg will then implant into the thickened uterine layer and the pregnancy will start. If the egg does not become fertilized, the hormone levels eventually fall, causing the uterine lining to shed and the new menstrual period to begin. The luteal period is a less symptomatic phase than the follicular one. Some women experience breast tenderness, mood changes, or bloating during this phase.

Common Menstrual Issues:


It is a condition where a woman has painful menstrual cramps. This is caused by the release prostaglandins which can cause contractions in the uterus. The pain can be mild or severe and interfere with your daily activities. Dysmenorrhea can be caused by prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) released by the lining in the uterus. Prostaglandins may cause the uterus contract, and also reduce blood flow into the uterus. This can lead to discomfort and pain. Dysmenorrhea can also be caused by endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Dysmenorrhea can be treated with over-the counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal analgesics (NSAIDs), or prescribed medications by a doctor.


It is when a woman doesn’t have a period. This condition can be caused either by pregnancy, breast-feeding, menopause or other medical conditions. Amenorrhea can be temporary, and may resolve by itself, or it may indicate a medical condition that needs to be treated. Amenorrhea is caused by hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders and polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It can also be caused by excessive exercise, weight loss or certain medications. Amenorrhea treatment depends on its underlying cause. It may include lifestyle changes, hormonal therapy, or prescription medications.


It is a condition where a woman has heavy menstrual bleeds. This condition can be caused either by fibroids or hormonal imbalances. Menorrhagia can cause bleeding to last longer than seven days or women may soak through a pad or tampon in less than an hour. Menorrhagia is caused by many factors including hormonal imbalances and uterine polyps or fibroids. Some medications or contraceptives are prescribed to regulate menstrual blood flow. Other times, surgery is required to remove uterine fibroid or other growths causing heavy menstrual bleeding. If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding, or if it is prolonged, talk to your healthcare provider. They can determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS):

This is a group of symptoms that occur just before a woman has her menstrual cycle. Some symptoms include mood swings and irritability. Breast tenderness, bloating or breast swelling can also occur. Premenstrual Syndrome is a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occur before a woman’s period. The symptoms of PMS can vary from woman to women, but they may include mood swings and irritability. They could also include anxiety, depression, bloating or breast tenderness. It is unclear what causes PMS, but the cause is believed to be hormonal fluctuations during menstruation. PMS can be treated with lifestyle changes such as exercising, eating a healthy diet and stress management, or by using over-the-counter medications for pain relief. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of PMS, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help determine the best treatment plan.


This condition occurs when tissue that is similar to the uterine wall grows outside the uterus. It causes pain and discomfort. It can lead to a variety of symptoms including pelvic discomfort, painful periods, pain when having an intimate relationship, infertility and fatigue. Endometriosis’s exact cause is unknown, but is believed to be linked to genetics and hormonal imbalances. Endometriosis can be treated with pain-relieving medications, hormonal therapy, or surgical removal of endometrial tissue. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis. This will help determine the cause and best treatment options.

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