In adults, normal menstrual cycles occur every 24 to 35 days and last a week or less. Teenagers and women near menopause are more likely to experience irregular cycles, but a good rule of thumb is that periods should not come closer than three weeks apart and the bleeding should not last more than eight days.
The beginning of the cycle, called Day 1, is the day bleeding begins. The flow usually lasts about 3 to 5 days. Usually by Day 7 some of the eggs in the ovaries start ripening. One egg is released from the ovary on about Day 14. The other ripening eggs stop growing and dry up. The time from menstruation to ovulation, may vary from 13 to 20 days in length from one woman to another, but also differs in some women from month to month. Such common circumstances as sickness, worry, physical exertion, and even sudden changes in climate may occasionally upset a regular pattern by shortening it or extending it.
During ovulation the egg travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. If a single male sperm unites with the egg while it is in the tube pregnancy begins. If fertilization doesn’t take place, the egg cell will break apart in a day or two. About Day 25, hormone levels drop. This causes the lining of the uterus to break down and in a few days it is shed in a menstrual period. Another cycle has begun. This part of the cycle, from ovulation to menstruation, is about the same length in all women. The egg is released consistently 14 to 16 days before the onset of menstruation, regardless of the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Charting the signs of our menstrual cycle is a good way to keep in touch with our bodies, our feelings, and our health. It is also a good way to predict our days of menstruation in advance, even if menstrual cycles are irregular, and to know the most fertile times if we are hoping to conceive.
Keeping track of when you get your period each month and knowing how long it is likely to last is certainly practical, as it allows you to avoid potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable situations by being prepared accordingly – for example, having pads and ibuprofen on hand.
But knowing when to expect your menstrual cycle also can provide important information when it comes to figuring out if you are pregnant, are planning to conceive, or if you or your practitioner suspect a menstrual problem. That’s why it’s good to get into the habit of using a menstrual calendar.
Your doctor may want to see a record of your menstrual cycles if there are any concerns about menstrual irregularities or if you are trying to get pregnant.
Most women have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms occur in cycles, coming and going at roughly the same time each month. If you are having premenstrual-like symptoms, your health professional may ask you to keep a menstrual diary and to track when your symptoms occur.
Why you need a Menstrual Calendar?
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should have an up to date menstrual diary:
Vacation: Going on vacation would be so much fun if you could plan it for the time when you will not be having your period.
Doctors: When you go to see a doctor he/she would need to know when was your last menstrual cycle. Especially your ObGyn, who will need to know all the details to determine if there is any problem.
Family Planning: Your fertility periods are determined by your ovulation. And ovulation can be calculated from your menstrual diary. But you need to have data at least for 6 month. A year is better.
Social Life: If you have heavy PMS you can be prepared and you can avoid problems and conflicts. You can also avoid going to a party or take a day off.
Sex Life: If you are dating it will be good to choose the appropriate time for a special night according to your fertile and not-fertile days.
10 Things You Need to Know About Periods (from Tina Kells)
Most girls get there first period between the ages of 11 and 15, but it is not abnormal to be as old as 18 or as young as 10.
For the first few years most girls have irregular periods; it is not unusual to miss your period for months at a time or to have 2 periods very close together.
Periods work on 28 day cycles, this means you can expect 13 periods in a year.
PMS is not a myth but it has been exaggerated. It is more physical than emotional and includes things like bloating, cramping, water retention, elevated body temperature, and skin break outs.
It is possible, although highly unlikely, to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex during your period.
Menstrual Cramps – some girls they are severe enough to warrant missing school or other activities; Ibuprofen (Advil®), Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), Naproxen Sodium (Aleve®) or Motrin® can help ease the pain.
Birth control pills can ease severe cramps and make irregular periods regular.
Using tampons does not mean you are no longer a virgin.
Tampons should not be left in for more than 8 hours; extended use can cause the disease called “Toxic Shock Syndrome” (TSS).
A period is part of the regular fertility cycle in females; it is merely the expulsion of an unfertilized egg along with uterine wall tissue and blood. Although it seems as if you lose a lot of blood you really only lose between 4 – 6 tablespoons, the rest is tissue and water.