What is a menstrual cycle?

Every child who reaches puberty, be it a boy or a girl, should be taught about the menstrual cycle to understand the nature behind it. Education on such sensitive topics can give young adolescents an idea of what happens in a woman’s body and how to tackle such situation. The menstrual cycle is simply a monthly period every woman goes through as a part of reproduction. An entire point of going through this every month is to prepare a woman for a possible pregnancy because, in each cycle, a woman releases an egg from her ovaries that stay in her system for at least 3 days in the wait of getting fertilized. And if a woman has intercourse during this period, then there are high chances that she would get pregnant and the miracle of life would begin inside of her. But if her egg does get fertilized then it will shed with the next menstrual blood; she gets the next month. This entire phenomenon is controlled by an extensive and typical communication of hormones inside a woman body which explains the variability woman gets in her periods during her life at different stages.

Changes in the menses cycle:

  • Changes In Menstrual Cycle In early teens:

As a woman progresses through her life, she will go through many varieties in her menstrual cycle and may experience changes she has never dealt with before. Many factors come into play as a woman advances in her age. First, at menarche, a young woman’s menstrual cycle would be inconsistent in quantity and infrequent every month.

This happens for at least the first 3 years of menarche. The average age of menarche is 12 to 13 years of age though some women can get their periods way before or way after this age and still be considered normal. At this age, almost all women complain of irregular menstrual cycle.

when in reality we need to understand that the hormones are taking their time to set a pattern and become consistent in their communications throughout the body, and this is the reason why it may take women some time to start getting a regular menstrual cycle.

  • Changes In Menstrual Cycle In your 20s:

By this time most women get a normal and regular cycle unless other complications arise. This decade of the life of a woman is said to be the most fertile period of her life. A woman tends to produce very healthy eggs that can result in healthy babies with almost no complications if you conceive in your 20s, so if you missed your period then it is most likely that you are pregnant. but on the other hand, this is also the period where a woman goes through most of her emotional turmoil, which is why she may be become stressed, anxious, depressed due to her life events.

All these emotional changes cause drastic changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle. She may start noticing longer gaps in between her periods or may even experience more than once a month all because of the disturbances in hormone caused by the emotional state of a woman.

Similarly, a psychological eating disorder called anorexia nervosa or anorexia bulimia may severely affect a girl’s diet and lead her to malnourishment that will very likely result in the disturbed menstrual pattern because a good diet means normal periods and a malnourished state means irregular periods. Likewise, if a woman is overweight, she may have the same problems of period irregularity and she would struggle with her obesity.

Some women think it is very early to have a baby when they are in their 20s, hence they start opting for birth control methods. Birth control methods are known for causing an irregular menstrual cycle. All the birth control methods are based on the mechanics of the hormones of a woman, so when they start taking birth control methods, then the synthetic hormones interrupt the natural hormones of the woman’s body and cause these irregularities.

Related:Different Period Blood Colors: What it Means for Your Health

The period blood also presents in different colors that vary from woman to woman, in fact, it can vary from one period blood from the next period blood in the same woman, this is mainly because of the hormones involved, that regulate your cycle and uterine shedding every month.


  • Changes In your 30s:

A woman continues to have her periods in her 30s. and regardless of the age, if you get pregnant, you may notice some changes with your menstrual cycle. Some women complain they do not get the same periods considering the periods she got before delivering her baby. And for other women, they may say that they started having better and more regular menstrual cycle after they delivered.

This varies from woman to woman and there is no fixed rule with this. Also, if a woman breastfeeds her child, then again, she may discover that her period has become very irregular, and again this is all because of the underlying hormones that are involved in breastfeeding and the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle that are contradicting one another.

We should also consider the chances of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during the childbearing age which is very concerning for woman and the doctors, as well. Getting an infection can severely hamper a woman’s menstrual cycle and can also affect her fertility. It is recommended for all women to get annual check-ups during their child-bearing age.

Does sexual activity have any effect on the menstrual cycle?

People think that being sexual activity can have some kind of effect on their menstrual cycle, which is actually not true. There is no proven relation to having sex and menses. All that can happen after you have sex is to miss your next period because probably you are pregnant. Other than this, there are no changes in your menstrual cycle after you have sex unless you get an STD. But some women do say that they have less adverse premenstrual syndrome symptoms after having sex and that their periods become more regular. This is logical because your hormones may become more aligned after having sex.


  • Changes In your 40s:

By this age, the reproductive activity may decline in most women as compared to their reproductive activity in their 20s. The eggs are more abnormal than healthy which means if a woman gets pregnant during this age then she may produce children who may have physical or mental abnormalities.

Other than this, a woman is also approaching her menopause, and for women in their late 40s, they may already be in a time of perimenopause. During this time, a woman gets more unpredictable and irregular periods as her ovaries are now producing lesser estrogen than before which also may result in complete halt in the production of eggs, even though she may continue to get her periods.

  • Changes In your 50s:

Most women have reached their menopause by then. Menopause is defined as a time when a woman does not get her periods for 12 consecutive months. This means that her reproductive has come to an end and she will not get her periods again and is not completely unfertile.

If you see changes other than this, as a heavy menstrual period, unusual discharge, heaviness or pain in your pelvic region then it is best for you to discuss all your symptoms with your entrusted doctor because your symptoms can be very concerning. There conditions like uterine cancer or fibroid which should be ruled before they can cause adverse effects.


Mayo Clinic


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