Menstruation, also called a menstrual period, is the bleeding that occurs about once a month for women at the beginning of their menstrual cycle. Each month, you go through a menstrual cycle that prepares your body for pregnancy. However, if an egg is not fertilized and you do not become pregnant, your uterus will shed its lining. This causes you to release blood and tissue from your uterus out of your vagina. Menstruation is different for every woman, but on average lasts 4-6 days. You will have menstruation every month around the same time when you start having menstrual cycles around age 12 and stop during menopause around age 50. You may also feel intense cramping in your lower abdomen, legs, or back during menstruation along with other side effects such as mood swings or headaches.

How long does Menstruation Last?

Menstruation is different for each individual woman. As the length of your menstrual cycles vary, so do the days you will menstruate. It will occur about every month, as the average number of days for a menstrual cycle is 28-30 days. However some women have shorter or longer menstrual cycles. Menstruation on average will last 5 days, but it can be as few as 3-4 days and as long as 6-7 days. However, as an individual, your menstruation should last about the same number of days each month.

When to Consult a Doctor

Menstruation is a natural part of your menstrual cycle and being a woman. In fact, getting menstruation each month is a sign of a healthy female body. However there are some instances where you might need to consult your doctor. For example, if you are 16 years old and have yet to start menstruating, bleeding excessively or for longer than usual, feeling ill or pain after using tampons, bleeding between periods, or having severe pain during menstruation.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome is a group of symptoms sometimes felt by women about a week before menstruation begins. This is due to the changes in hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, which change if you don’t get pregnant and near menstruation. They include physical and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include bloating, gas, breast tenderness, constipation, diarrhea, clumsiness, food cravings, headache, or low tolerance for lights and noise. Additional physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include confusion, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, fatigue, sluggishness, feeling sad or hopeless, tension, edginess, anxiety, irritability, hostility, aggressive behavior, low sex drive, mood swings, poor judgment, poor self image, feelings of guilt, increased fears, and sleeping too much or too little.

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