Why Do Women Menstruate?

Why Do Women Menstruate?

Menstruation, commonly known as a period, is a biological process, not just a women's thing. Every healthy woman would shed uterine lining every month, which blood flows out of the cervix and vagina.

What is the menstruation period?

A period can be defined as the process in which a woman bleeds out of her vagina once a month for 3-7 days every month. 

This is a biological process that starts with puberty and ends at menopause. Each menstrual cycle, an average woman loses approximately 30-80 milliliters of iron-rich blood.

Why do women menstruate?

The question here is not what menstruation is but why does it happen? The menstruation period is your body's way of releasing the tissue that it doesn't need any longer. A female body prepares itself for pregnancy every month. The lining of your uterus is thickened as it prepares to nurture an egg. Halfway through your menstrual cycle, your hormones tell your ovary to release an egg. This process is called ovulation. The egg travels down into the uterus, passing through the fallopian tube.

If the egg is not fertilized within due time, it disintegrates with blood and nutrients into the uterus and flows down the vagina. It takes about 3-7 days for the uterus to cleanse itself up, after which the process starts again, and the cycle continues till you reach menopause.

What does a typical period look like?

A typical period happens every 24-28 days and lasts between 3-7 days. Typically women release about 30-80 milliliters of blood and tissue. Heavy periods release about 80-120 milliliters of blood and tissue.

For some women, it is not as easy as it sounds. Periods can cause bloating, breast pain, discomfort, cramps, mood swings, and nausea. The symptoms vary from light to hospital-reaching severe.

Menstrual disorders

The menstrual period is a normal biological process. The pain and other symptoms that come with it are usually normal and are caused by hormonal imbalance. Still, certain alarming factors need to be discussed with a medical consultant or a gynecologist. Always keep a check on the following:

• The volume of blood flow

Check if the blood that you're losing each month is light, heavy, or does it seem normal. Constantly disturbing volumes of menstrual blood flow can be an early sign of a disorder.

• Duration of your period

Typically a period should last between 3 to 8 days. If you're bleeding for more or less than this typical range, there might be a problem like a cyst, etc. Get it checked.

• Regularity of your period

One of the most important factors to note is the regularity of your period. See if your period comes right during the dates or if they are irregular or absent sometimes.

Does every woman get a menstrual period every month?

A straight answer to this question would be NO. For your period to be regular and normal, you should have a healthy hypothalamus, uterus, pituitary glands, and functioning ovaries. If any of these aren't healthy or functional, you might never have a menstrual period.

Similarly, women do not bleed during pregnancy. Releasing hormones like estrogen and protein helps the uterus hold a baby and not shed and flow down the vagina.

There could be several other reasons behind a missed period. Some can be benign; others might cause severe problems like infertility or ovary abnormalities.

Theories on the menstruation cycle

There are several rather interesting theories on why women menstruate. One of which was proposed by Margie Profet in the 1990s, who suggested that the menstrual cycle is the body's self-cleaning mechanism. But the concepts were deemed flawed later on.

Another plausible theory suggests that it evolved to fit the odd way in which human embryos are embedded in the lining of the uterus during pregnancy.

Believe it or not, there was a time when menstruating women were considered impure, and the cycle itself was said to be God's wrath. However, with time and awareness, people realized that the process is biological and perfectly normal.

Bottom Line

The menstrual period is a normal biological process; it still causes a hormonal tornado, and not every period is the same. Hormonal imbalance, mood swings, and constant pain in the lower back and uterus every month for an average of 40 years of your life is not an easy load to bear. A woman can be sensitive during her days. Empathy goes a long way!