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Adolescence and Puberty
Growing up is a natural life process. Growth begins from the day you are born. However, upon crossing the age of 10, there is a sudden spurt in growth, which becomes noticeable. The period of life, when the body undergoes changes leading to reproductive maturity, is called adolescence.
The changes that are seen in the growing body mark the onset of puberty.
1. What is Menstruation?
Menstruation is the process of shedding the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. The discharge contains blood, the mucosal lining of the uterus, dead tissues, and an unfertilized egg. It is also termed as periods, menses, or menstrual flow.
2. What is a Menstrual Cycle?
Each month, a girl sheds the inner lining of the uterus is called periods. The female body produces two hormones – estrogen and progesterone. These hormones become active as they reach puberty. Estrogen controls the development of female characters like feminine voice, soft skin, and breasts while progesterone hormone controls the uterus changes during menstruation.
Every month the body prepares the inner lining of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg formed by the fusion of egg and sperm. However, if the egg is not fertilized, the inner lining becomes inactive and starts to degenerate. This causes the lining of the uterus, tissues, blood to come out of the body as menstrual flow. This cycle or periodic flow occurs every 28-30 days, so is named the menstrual cycle. Hormones control the menstrual cycle.
3. When does a girl usually get her first period?
The first menstruation occurs when a girl reaches the age of around 10-12 years. The first occurrence of menstruation is called menarche. It marks the onset of the reproductive life of a woman.
4. How long is a menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle usually lasts for 3-7 days. When a girl starts her periods, she might bleed heavily and for a long duration. However, as she reaches her 20s, the flow might be normal bleeding and of short duration (3-5days). As she reaches her 40s, menstrual blood flow might gradually become very less and be reduced to 2-3 days depending on the body type.
5. How to keep track of the menstrual cycle?
On average, menstruation usually lasts for 3-7 days. So to keep track, begin counting from the day your period starts until the first day of your next period. This way you can calculate the approximate date of your next cycle. The average menstrual cycle is of 28-30 days
6. What is the normal amount of bleeding during period?
A healthy woman may lose 16 teaspoons of blood (80ml). On average, around 6-8 teaspoons might be lost. There are times one might have heavy bleeding, which accounts for more than 16 teaspoons of blood.
7. What is Ovulation?
When a girl child is born, her ovaries already contain many immature eggs. As she reaches puberty, the eggs start to mature inside the ovary. The eggs mature and are released from the ovary. This process is called ovulation.
Ovulation takes place on the 14th day of the beginning of the menstrual cycle of 28 days. This means that ovulation takes place in the middle of the menstrual cycle.
8. How can you know if you are ovulating?
During ovulation, the vaginal discharge appears thinner, watery, clearer, and slippery like egg whites. The body temperature is also raised. Many times, a small pinch-like sensation is felt on either side of the lower abdomen.
9. Which is safe to use- Pads, Tampons, Menstrual cups?
It is a matter of debate as to which is the best alternative for soaking menstrual blood.
- Pads- They are considered one of the safest to use as they are worn outside the body. Pads have adhesive at their back, which helps them to firmly stick to the underwear. However, the materials used can be toxic and develop rashes and allergies to the skin. In addition, they add to the plastic pollution as they are dumped in landfills.
- Menstrual cups- They are made of medical-grade silicone, which is inserted, into the vagina and the blood is collected in the cup. As the cup fills up, the user can remove them, clean them and use them again. They are eco-friendly and do not add to the pollution.
- Tampons- They are little plugs made of cotton that are inserted into the vagina to soak menstrual blood. They come with an applicator, which helps to put them inside the vagina. Also, it has a string attached so that it can be pulled out easily after use.
It is sometimes observed, women put tampons inside and forget to remove them. This causes bacterial growth inside the vagina and may lead to complications and prove fatal. This condition is called Toxic Shock Syndrome.
10. How to maintain hygiene during menstruation?
When menstrual blood is released from the body, it attracts various organisms within our bodies, which tend to multiply in the warmth of the blood, cause rashes or irritation. So, it becomes very important to maintain menstrual hygiene.
Tips to maintain menstrual hygiene
- Wear clean and comfortable undergarments.
- Clean yourself nicely.
- Change pads, tampons at regular intervals of time.
- Dispose off used pads and tampons properly.
- Disinfect reusable pads before use.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Poonam Dungdung