Monthly bleeding (period, menstruation) 75
The monthly cycle (menstrual cycle)
The monthly bleeding cycle is different for each woman. For most women, the
whole menstrual cycle takes about 28 days—just like the cycle of the moon. But
some women bleed as often as every 20 days, or as little as every 45 days. During
the first year you get your monthly bleeding, it will probably come at a different
time each month. This is normal. It will take several months for you to start having
a regular cycle.
The monthly cycle
About 14 days before the end of your
monthly cycle, an egg is released by one of
the ovaries. This is called ovulation. At this
time, the hormone progesterone causes the
lining of the womb to become thicker and
to get ready for the possibility of pregnancy.
egg When an ovary releases an egg, the egg travels through
the fallopian tube into the womb. During this time a
woman is fertile, and if she has sex with a man, his sperm
may join with her egg to fertilize it and start a pregnancy.
Most of the time, the egg is not fertilized
so the thick lining of the womb is not
needed. The lining breaks down into a
bloody fluid that flows out of the body
through the vagina during the monthly
bleeding. Then the cycle starts over again.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007