‘That time of the month’ again? A lot of women feel annoyed when they have to deal with their monthly menstrual period.

Perhaps if you understand and dig a little deeper on what really happens inside your body during your menstrual period, you might learn to appreciate it a little better and maybe look forward to it happening every month.

A menstrual period or menstruation is a cycle that every woman has to go through upon reaching the tender years of puberty. In fact, it signifies that a girl is “all grown up” when she is starting her first menstruation or commonly called a ‘period’. This process is important and it happens for a reason. A menstrual period occurs because your body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy.

What happens prior to a menstrual period?

Many women claim to experience PMS or Pre-menstrual Syndrome, so goes the expression “I have PMS” that is commonly uttered when a woman is feeling unusually moody and irritated all the time days prior to her menstrual period. As often as PMS is associated with a woman’s menstrual period, it is still a subject of great debates as to whether it is legitimate or just and excuse.

What happens during a menstrual period?

Menstruation is a complex process that involves a lot of hormones, your sex organ and even your brain. Basic Anatomy would tell you that you have two ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus or womb and your vagina. You were born with eggs in your ovaries and when you start having your menstrual period, a single egg will ripen due to the action of hormones running in your blood stream. When that egg is ripened, it will break free from the ovary and swims down to your fallopian tube and into your uterus. Your uterus has a lining called the endometrium that is thickened by the active hormones and ready to receive the egg.

If you have sexual intercourse during this period and a sperm did manage to go inside your uterus, then the egg will be fertilized and you can get pregnant. If the egg did not get fertilized, a following hormonal change will cause your endometrium to slip away and out of your body, thus your menstrual period begins.

Is menstrual period painful?

You can experience a variety of sensations before, during and after your menstrual period that are both physical and psychological. Some of the common physical complaints of women during a menstrual period are:

  • backache
  • pain in the inner thighs
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • headaches
  • breast tenderness

There are also psychological and emotional effects of menstrual period among women which are:

  • relief
  • release
  • euphoria
  • new beginning
  • invigoration
  • connection with nature
  • creative energy
  • exhilaration
  • irritability and other mood changes

Will menstrual periods last for a lifetime?

Menstrual periods do not last for a lifetime. It usually starts to end when the woman gets older. This is called a menopause and occurs between the ages 40 to 60 and lasts for a period of 6 months to 3 years. During a menopause, a menstrual period starts to slow down before stopping altogether. Women approaching the menopausal stage experience hot flashes or flushes, irregular sleeping habit, headaches or migraines, high energy, high creativity, and/or mood changes. Some also experience mild to severe depression. However, this can be temporary and will eventually disappear.

Your menstrual period is indeed complex and in it comes sensations that you might or might not look forward to every month for the rest of your adult life. But having a menstrual period is also one of your uniqueness as woman. Embrace it and welcome it as it signifies a healthy and normal life.