Menstruation or Period is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as a part of monthly mensuration and ovulation cycle. It is the hormonal process a woman’s body goes through each month to prepare for a pregnancy. Menstruation normally starts at the early adolescence that is age (11-14) and continues until menopause. The first period is called menarche and menopause is the time when the period stops. Let’s know about mensuration and ovulation.
During the years between puberty and menopause, a woman’s body goes through a number of changes to get ready for a possible pregnancy. This process of hormonal activity is known as the menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. The rise and fall of hormones during the month control the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is divided into four phases:
Phase 1 : Menstrual phase ( 3-7 Days)
This menstrual phase is the first stage of the menstrual cycle. This phase starts if an egg from the previous cycle isn’t fertilized (if pregnancy hasn’t taken place).
During menstruation the level of hormones estrogen and progesterone drop. During your period, menstruation blood clots, mucus, and tissue from your uterus are released through vagina. The color of menstrual fluid varies between red, bright red, and dark brown to black.
It may or may not have an unpleasant smell especially when it mixes with the air. On average, women are in the menstrual phase of their cycle for 3 to 7 days. Some women have a longer period than others.
During menstrual and ovulation time you may notice below symptoms:
- Abdominal or pelvic cramps
- Bloating and tender breasts
- Mood swings and irritability
- Headache and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
Besides the above symptoms Menstruation Headache, Mensuration cramps are also considered during the mensuration cycle as the mensuration problems or mensuration side effects.
Phase 2: Follicular phase (11 to 27 days)
This phase starts on the first day of your period and ends when you ovulate. In this phase, about 5 to 20 small sac of the follicle is produced by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which contains immature eggs.
Though numbers of eggs are produced, only the healthiest egg will eventually mature (a woman may have two eggs mature in the rare case). the rest of the follicle will be reabsorbed in your body.
The mature follicle begins a rise in estrogen and thickens the lining of the uterus, this creates a favorable environment for the embryo to grow. The average follicular phase lasts for about 15 days. It can range from 11 to 27 days depending on the cycle.
Phase 3: Ovulation phase:( 14th Day)
Ovulation is when your ovary release a mature egg, the egg travels down the Fallopian tube towards the uterus to meet sperm and get fertilized. This is only time during the menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant is one of the important time in mensuration and ovulation process .some of the symptoms that tell you are ovulating are :
- Slightly rise in fundamental body temperature.
- Thicker white discharge that has the texture of egg whites
Ovulation takes place at around 14 days if you have a regular cycle of 28 days which is exactly in the middle of the menstrual cycle. It last about 24 hours. After a day, the egg will either dissolve or die if not get fertilized.
Phase 4: Luteal phase( 11 to 17 days)
If you don’t get pregnant, the corpus luteum (after the follicle releases its eggs, it changes into corpus luteum) will be reabsorbed. This leads to a downfall in estrogen and progesterone level, which causes the onset of your period but if you do get pregnant, your body will produce human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
This is the hormone pregnancy test detect. It helps maintain the corpus luteum and keeps uterine lining thick. If you don’t get pregnant, you may experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as menstruation side effects. these include:
- Mood changes
- Breast swelling, pain, or tenderness
- Changes in sexual desire
- Food cravings
The luteal phase lasts for approximately 11 to 17 days. The average length is 14 days.
Menstrual Management (MHM)Hygiene in Mensuration and Ovulation
Menstrual hygiene management or mensuration hygiene can be defined as “women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having excess to dispose of used menstrual management materials”.
The menstrual Management Hygiene should be known by every female which will decrease menstruation side effects. This decrease in menstruation side effects is an important part of Female monthlies and Purity during the Mensuration and Ovulation time.
How can we follow menstruation hygiene?
During the mensuration cycle, menstruation hygiene should be followed. Menstruation requires the availability of materials to absorb or collect menstrual blood, ease personal hygiene, and dispose of waste with adequate privacy.
Menstrual absorbents to manage menstruation hygiene:
The choice of absorbents varies among rural and urban women and girls. In rural areas, the most preferred absorbents used are the reusable cloth pads. They may be suitable sanitary options but must be hygienically washed and dried in the sunlight the heat of the sun act as a natural sanitizer and drying pads and cloths under it kills microorganisms and you can use it further.
These cloth pads are cost-effective, easily available, reusable, and eco-friendly. They should be stored in clean and dry places to avoid contamination. In urban areas, women prefer to use commercial sanitary pads. They are available at many stores, chemist shops, or online easily.
They are expensive compared to cloth pads, non-re-usable, and not so eco-friendly. The cotton used in their making is not 100% natural and may contain chemicals or pesticides.
Newly introduced absorbents are;
Tampons are a type of absorbent that provides internal protection. They are a kind of plug of soft material (cotton) inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood before it leaves the body.
They are expensive, not degradable, and not very environment friendly. Nowadays, sea sponge tampons are also available which are more beneficial. Reusable tampons are also available in the market.
They can be an alternative to sanitary pads and tampons. They are like cups made of medical-grade silicone which makes the cup easy to fold and get inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood and can be regularly used for 5 to 12 hours depending on the amount of menstrual flow.
They are reusable and environmentally friendly and cost-effective which can be effective where sanitation is not so good.
It refers to maintaining body cleanliness. It is very necessary to remain clean during menstruation which includes;
- Clean your private part regularly: wash properly on a daily basis with clean water.
- Do not use sops or vagina hygiene products.
- Changing pads on time: change your sanitary napkins every 4-6 hours.
- Dispose of if it is non-reusable. If it is usable clean it with soap and water and dry under the sun and keep in a clean place for further use.
Proper disposal of menstruation waste;
Menstrual materials should not be thrown in streets, rivers, or any public places. It should be collected separately to dispose of. Bins should be placed in every place like school, health centers, working areas to dispose of pads for girls. Incineration is the best technique to dispose of menstrual materials.
Menstrual hygiene day is an annual awareness day on May 28.
by Bandana Dhakal