Menstruation is when women experience normal vaginal bleeding. It is a natural aspect of a healthy monthly menses cycle. Menopause or the end of periods occur at around 51-52 years of age.
So from puberty onwards, which can vary from ages 11 to 14 till menopause, the body readies itself for pregnancy, which thickens the uterus and releases an egg from the ovary. If pregnancy does not occur (or the egg is not fertilized), estrogen as well as progesterone levels shoot down.
This change in levels tells your body to menstruate. The uterus sheds the lining and blood through the vagina. Women, on average, lose 2-3 tablespoons of blood at the time of periods. Bleeding typically lasts 2 to 7 days. Most women have an average of 450 periods in their life. But if you need to know more about periods, read on.
Why Do Women Have Periods?
The period occurs during the menstrual cycle(1). If pregnancy does not happen, then the uterine lining along with blood is shed. The period is the means through which the body releases tissues it does not need. Every month, the body prepares for pregnancy.
The uterine lining thickens, and an egg is released, which settles in the uterine lining, ready to be fertilized. But when pregnancy does not occur, the thicker uterine lining is no longer needed. Therefore, the body breaks it down and expels it along with blood from the vagina. Once the period is over, the cycle starts again.
[Also Read: Home Remedies for Irregular Periods]
Can My Periods Be Stopped?
The way women experience their periods’ changes over a lifetime. Concerns about cycle regularity, period duration, and volume of menstrual flow should be discussed with the doctor or gynecologist. While no method on earth guarantees no periods, birth control methods can mostly suppress the period.
For those who take contraceptive pills each day, there is a 70 percent chance of cycle suppression. A 50-60 percent chance is there for those taking hormone shots for a year, and 70%, for two years. Hormone shots impact fertility for 22 months. A single year with a hormonal IUD offers a 50% chance of suppressing the cycle. Arm implants contain the period at about 20 percent after two years.
[Also Read: Weight Gain During Periods]
Do All Women Have Periods?
For women to experience periods, each of the following organs should be functioning well: pituitary gland, hypothalamus(2), uterus, and ovaries. Transgender and cisgender women also do not experience periods.
Remember that a period is a natural occurrence for most women. It is the body’s means of preparing for pregnancy. Each month one does not become pregnant; the body expels tissue no longer needed to nourish a fertilized egg. If there are inconsistencies, such as changing menstrual patterns, volume, duration, or frequency, always consult your doctor.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Treat Menopause Cramps]
As hormone shifts happen, period patterns and latency can change. When the first period commences, cycles may be longer, and more time may pass between periods. Over time, periods becoming shorter in latency and predictable in duration.
Hormone changes can take place during perimenopause, before the menopause when the body makes less estrogen. This change can throw one for a loop. The time from one period to another can shorten or lengthen, increase or decrease in blood volume, and change in intensity. This phase can last for ten years before your periods stop. Unusual issues like missed periods or excessive bleeding need medical intervention.
Most women stop getting periods between 45 and 55, although menopause takes a few years, and periods change during the time. When menopause arrives, there is no chance of getting pregnant. Not everyone who identified as a woman or a girl gets their period.
However, transgender and gender-queer individuals with uteruses, fallopian tubes, vaginas, and ovaries also experience periods. Generally, birth control or HRT/hormone replacement therapy, like testosterone, can block the body from menstruating. If testosterone is being taken, periods disappear. However, this change is also reversible.
If hormone injections or intake stops, periods will return. There can be changes in menstrual cycles when periods stop for good. The menses get lighter and shorter or don’t come regularly. Women may experience cramping or spotting once a while till the periods stop. Testosterone injections or creams can also ward off periods.
[Also Read: Healthy Foods for Menstrual Cramps]
Know what is normal for you, because each woman varies in terms of her period duration, frequency, blood volume, and latency. To find out what is the standard for you, track your menstrual cycle on a calendar. Start by following the date at which your period begins.
Then note down the time and date at which it ends. Track the period every month for several months consecutively in a row. This helps in identifying the regularity of the periods.
[Also Read: Natural Treatments for Period Cramps]
How to Track Your Periods
If you are worried about periods, always note down the following details. Firstly, study the end date. Discover how long your periods generally last, and whether they are lengthier or shorter than the average duration for menstruation.
The next thing you should ideally do is record flow heaviness. Is the volume of blood coming out lighter or heavier than usual? Do you need more or fewer tampons or napkins? Do you eject blood clots? Equally crucial to monitoring your periods is studying whether you bleed in between the periods.
Examine instances of pain and cramping associated with the period and whether the pain feels worse than usual. Study the changes in behavior or mood. Always examine if anything new happened during the time of change in the periods.
This article sums up most of the common questions you may have about your periods. But it should not stop there for you. Always record when your last menstrual period was and how long it lasted. Paying attention to your menstrual cycles can make it easier to track them.
Learn what constitutes a reasonable period for you, time your ovulation, and identify critical changes in the body, such as missing periods or too much bleeding. While menstrual issues are generally treated, sometimes, they may signal health problems.