Mom, what is a menstrual cycle?

Mom, what is a menstrual cycle?

1. Your cycle is unique to you

The average cycle time for most girls is 28 days, but your cycle may last from 21 to 35 days and still be normal. Most girls get their first period between 11 and 13 years old, though it can start anywhere from the age of eight to 16 years old.


2. Your reproductive system is made of:

- 2 ovaries: this is where eggs (ova) are stored and released.

- The womb (uterus): where a fertilized egg implants and a pregnancy grows

- 2 fallopian tubes: these are two thin tubes that connect the ovaries to the womb

- The cervix: the lower part of the womb that connects to the vagina

- The vagina: a tube of muscle connecting the cervix to the outside of the body.


3. What controls your cycle: hormones

Each month, your reproductive system repeats a regular pattern of events that are controlled by hormones. These hormones cause many of the physical changes that take place during puberty and over the phases of your monthly cycle.


4. What happens during the cycle?

The menstrual cycle is made of 4 phases:

- Pre-ovulation (called the follicular phase)


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- Ovulation

- Premenstrual (called the luteal phase)

- Menstruation


5. What happens to the eggs?

- Over the course of a lifetime, you release about 400 eggs in their mature form

- By the time you start puberty, you have between 300,000 and 500,000 eggs. Only between 400 and 500 will ripen into mature eggs during a lifetime


Help her chart her cycle

Tell her that it might seem boring but it’s useful! When you visit your doctor, they will ask, among other things, 'When was your last period?' By charting your cycle, communication with your doctor will be easier because you will be prepared to answer questions such as:

- How many days do you menstruate?

- What is your menstrual flow like (light, heavy, change of colour, odour, texture)?

- What other symptoms are apparent during your cycle (such as unusual vaginal discharge)?



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