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Understanding Menstruation: A Detailed Guide for All Ages

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Menstruation, or periods, is a natural physical occurrence in women or Assigned Females at Birth (AFAB). It refers to vaginal bleeding in a monthly cycle.

Menstruation in women usually starts during puberty and lasts until Menopause. Although experiencing the menstrual cycle is normal, its nature usually varies widely.

These variations occur in flow, symptoms, and associated complications. Hence, it is important to be aware of these aspects to manage the period symptoms properly.

This article will dig deeper into the several aspects of menstruation and the myths surrounding this phenomenon in detail.

Phases of Menstruation

A normal menstrual cycle may last from 24 to 38 days on average, depending on the person. It usually consists of four distinct phases.

The first phase of menstruation is the menstrual phase (days 1-5), where the uterus sheds its lining in the form of vaginal bleeding. The second phase is the follicular phase (day 1-13), when the follicles in the ovaries mature in preparation for ovulation.

After this phase, women undergo the third phase of ovulation (around day 14), in which the ovaries release an egg for fertilization. In the end, a woman undergoes the luteal phase (days 15-28).

During this phase, the uterine lining thickens to prepare for pregnancy. This period is often followed by luteal phase discharge.

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  • Types of Menstrual Disorders

    Menstruation is often followed by different types of disorders. The following are the most common disorders of menstruation:

    Symptoms Associated with Menstruation

    Woman in pain sitting on the bedSource: pixelshot
    Woman suffering from pain

    Menstruation has several symptoms, and they may vary from individual to individual. It consists of both physical and emotional signs.

    It is important to be aware of these symptoms and seek medical help if needed. This section will discuss these different symptoms of periods in detail.

    Physical Period Symptoms

    A woman can face different types of symptoms simultaneously during their periods. Some of the most common physical symptoms include:

    Additional Fact:
    The usual color of blood in menstruation ranges from bright to dark red and may sometimes appear brownish. In abnormal cases, there may be brown spotting or blood clots.

    Emotional Period Symptoms

    Besides the above-mentioned physical symptoms, most women experience several emotional symptoms during their 28-day-long cycle. These are as follows:

    Complications Associated with Menstrual Cycle

    There are certain complications associated with the menstrual cycle, which can sometimes cause spotting before periods. Some of these complications that cause spotting and other menstrual irregularities are:

    • Endometriosis is a condition is a condition in which tissue like the uterus grows outside of it. It can cause Endometriosis fleshy tissue during the period, and irregular menstruation.
    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where the ovaries produce more male hormones than necessary. It often leads to menstruation heavy flow and is one of the major reasons for late menstruation and missed periods.
    • Fibroids refer to tumors that grow on the wall of the uterus. It often leads to spotting between menstruation and ghost periods and solidifying the link between menstruation and pain.
    If you are experiencing intense period cramps, heavy blood flow, or Hypomenorrhea, it can indicate complicated underlying conditions. Ignoring the symptoms can cause heavy menstruation Anemia, irregular ovulation, and even infertility.

    Menstruation and the immune system in women are often interlinked. Hormone fluctuations around the different phases can increase or suppress immunity.

    During the follicular and ovulation phase, the Estrogen levels are high, which boosts the immune system. However, it can worsen the symptoms in women with autoimmune diseases.

    The immune system is usually suppressed during the luteal phase, often resulting in infections and flu during this menstrual phase. Changes in appetite can also affect women with Diabetes and give rise to eating disorders.

    Management Methods During Menstruation

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    Woman doing workout

    The management method during menstruation differs for every woman. While some women may benefit from lifestyle changes, others may find medications and alternative therapies more effective.

    This section will discuss the above-mentioned management techniques in detail.

    Lifestyle Changes

    One of the best management methods for menstruation symptoms is to workout with periods.  It can help improve blood flow and release Endorphins, which can help relieve pain and mood swings.

    Doctors may often suggest avoiding certain foods during periods. Avoiding foods like caffeine, red meat, and fried foods can reduce period symptoms like Diarrhea and bloating.

    Some women may wonder, “Why do we crave chocolate during periods?” This is often common in the menstrual cycle due to PMS cravings, hormonal fluctuations, and to fill the gap of Magnesium deficiency during this time. Doctors also recommend it to improve one’s mood.

    Additionally, the question “How to get regular periods naturally?” also comes up regularly. One can opt for hydration, stress management, and using herbal remedies like ginger and cinnamon for relief.

    Medications and Alternative Therapies

    In order to reduce cramps and abdominal pain, doctors typically prescribe pain relievers. They may also suggest using hormonal pills to improve regular ovulation and prevent irregular periods.

    Experts may also suggest hormonal pills to maintain a regular first period after miscarriage and first period postpartum. If a person is wondering how to stop heavy periods, they can select hormonal contraceptives.

    Some individuals can benefit from alternative therapies like bed rest, hot compress, Acupuncture, and Aromatherapy.

    Period Myths

    Although periods are quite common, there are certain myths associated with it. It often brings up topics like “Can men menstruate?” or “trans woman period.” The fact is that neither men nor trans women experience periods.

    While most people believe that irregular periods always point toward infertility, the claim is false. Even a woman with irregular periods and ovulation can conceive with proper means.


    Menstruation (periods) is a crucial time in reproductive females and refers to vaginal bleeding for a few days once a month. This phase happens in four phases, usually followed by several physical and emotional symptoms.

    Although it is a common occurrence, in some cases, individuals can face irregularities in their periods. This can often disrupt the natural flow of their life and give rise to abnormalities like blood clots or spotting before periods.

    Menstruation can often affect one’s immunity and worsen the symptoms of autoimmune diseases or infections like flu. However, these conditions usually vary depending on the phase of the cycle.

    Doctors usually suggest lifestyle and dietary changes to get relief from its symptoms naturally. However, in severe cases, one may opt for hormonal medications and alternative therapies.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What causes a woman to menstruate twice in a month?

    Some women may experience 2 menstruation in 1 month due to hormonal imbalances, stress, and thyroid issues.
    Additionally, in some cases, conditions such as Perimenopause, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Uterine Fibroids, or changes in contraception can also lead to irregular periods.

    Why my menstruation is early?

    There are several causes of getting early menstruation. Some of the most common causes include stress, hormonal imbalances, changes in weight, or exercise habits.
    Some women may also experience it due to thyroid problems and other complicated underlying conditions like PCOS.

    Does birth control stop your period?

    No, birth control usually does not stop your period. However, certain birth control like hormonal IUDs, contraceptive implants, or continuous-use birth control pills, can stop periods or make them very light. 
    In cases of traditional birth control pills, the frequency of menstruation can decrease.

    Why does my period blood smell so bad?

    Some of the most common causes of foul-smelling period blood include bacterial overgrowth, such as bacterial vaginosis, poor menstrual hygiene, or retained menstrual products. 
    While some odor is normal, a strong, unpleasant smell may indicate an infection. Hence, it is always important to maintain proper menstrual hygiene.

    Can you get pregnant when you’re on your period?

    Yes, getting pregnant during your period is possible, though it is less likely to happen. Sperm can survive in the body for up to five days. 
    So, if you have a short cycle and ovulate soon after your period, you may get pregnant.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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