Menstruation, also known as a period or monthly, is the regular discharge of blood from the inner lining of the uterus, the organ inside the woman's body where the baby grows, through the vagina. The first period usually begins between 12 and 15 years of age, a point in time known as menarche. However, periods may occasionally start at 8 years old and still be considered normal. The typical time duration between the first day of one period and the first day of the next is 21 to 45 days in young women, and 21 to 31 days in adults (an average of 28 days).Bleeding usually lasts around 2 to 7 days.
The average volume of menstrual fluid during a monthly menstrual period is 35 milliliters (2.4 tablespoons of menstrual fluid) with 10–80 milliliters (1–6 tablespoons of menstrual fluid) considered typical.The menstrual fluid contains some blood, as well as cervical mucus, vaginal secretions, and endometrial tissue. Menstrual fluid is reddish-brown, a slightly darker color than venous blood.
A lack of periods, known as amenorrhea, is when periods do not occur by age 15 or have not occurred in 3 months. Other problems with the menstrual cycle include painful periods and abnormal bleeding such as bleeding between periods or heavy bleeding.
There are several ways that someone's menstrual cycle can differ from the norm, any of which should be discussed with a doctor to identify the underlying cause:
Up to 80% of women report having some symptoms prior to menstruation. Common signs and symptoms include acne, tender breasts, bloating, feeling tired, irritability, and mood changes.These may interfere with normal life, therefore qualifying as premenstrual syndrome, in 20 to 30% of women. In 3 to 8%, symptoms are severe. An estimated 85 % of women experience at least one symptom of PMS per month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates. It includes mood swings, cramps, fatigue, changes in appetite and sometimes pain in the overall body.
Menstruation is managed by menstruating women to avoid damage to clothing or to accord with norms of public life. Menstrual management practices range from medical suppression of menstruation, through wearing special garments or other items, washing or avoidance of washing, disposal, and laundry of stained materials, to the separation of menstruators to particular places or activities.
Menstrual products (also called "feminine hygiene" products) are made to absorb or catch the menstrual blood. A number of different products are available - some are disposable, some are reusable. Where women can afford it, items used to absorb or catch menses are usually commercially manufactured products.
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