What is the Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle is a series of changes that a woman’s body goes through monthly in preparation for pregnancy. A woman will first ovulate, or release an egg from her fallopian tubes, which will then implant itself in the lining of the uterus while it waits to be fertilized. During this time, the body will go through hormonal changes that anticipate pregnancy and help the body prepare.
If the egg is not fertilized within a certain amount of time, the uterine lining will begin to shed out itself and the unfertilized egg through the cervix. This shedding is what causes most cramps during a normal period. The shedding will continue until all the previous material is gone, and then it will begin the cycle again.
Typically, a woman’s cycle will fall between 21-35 days apart, however, that may not be the case for those with irregular periods.
In the case of an irregular period, a woman’s body may not have a period every month, or if they do it may vary in length and severity each time. For most menstrual cycles, they will last between 2-7 days and the flow will start off light before increasing slightly then decreasing toward the end.
If you are over 16 years old and haven’t started your period yet consult a healthcare provider. There may be a medical reason such as an over or underactive thyroid to blame.
There are also medications like birth control or other contraceptive devices (including IUDs) that can alter or completely stop your period from happening. Make sure that you understand what can happen when you begin using these contraceptives and know that it is completely normal to not have a period when on certain ones.