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Why Do We Call It “Menstruation”?

May 9, 2021

Menstruation, commonly known as getting your “period” is the vaginal bleeding that every woman goes through each month. The bleeding lasts anywhere between 4-7 days, which is the “period” and a “menstrual cycle” lasts anywhere between 28-35 days between each period. 

Menarche, or the age at which women first start their period ranges between 12 years to 16 years, but with time changing and better quality of life and mortality rates, it is common for girls to start menstruating before the age of 12 nowadays. Menopause, or the age at which women finally stop having periods, usually onsets around the age of 45 years. The phase in-between menarche and menopause is known as the fertile period, during which women can conceive children. Once menopause onsets, female fertility comes to an end. 

The terms “menstruation” and “menses” are derived from the Latin mensis (month), which in turn relates to the Greek mene (moon) and to the roots of the English words month and moon. The vaginal bleeding that characterizes a period is a mix of blood, nutrients, and endometrial tissue. Every month, when the ovum {egg} is released into the uterus from the ovaries, the endometrium thickens in preparation to house an embryo, if the released ovum is fertilized by a sperm during that cycle. In lack of this event, the uterus sheds this lining, which comes out as our period. Thus the endometrium thickens and sheds each month, which is what we know as menstruation. 

Though periods may come across as an overwhelming amount of blood loss at first, the blood we lose on our period amounts to just about 80 CCs. This blood doesn’t clot because of substances called plasmin and prostacyclins, which act to prevent the coagulation of blood and aggregation of platelets in the process. 

Menstrual cycles vary from person to person. This can manifest in different ways, like periods without any PMS, light flows or extremely heavy flows, shorter or longer periods, etc. These can be broadly categorized into either frequency disturbances or rhythm disturbances. 

Keep in mind that it is always better to consult a doctor if you feel like something is amiss. Also remember that if you are experiencing such disturbances at either the onset of your first period or the offset of your last period, this is most likely nothing to worry about, since a little bit of fluctuation when your body is changing is normal and expected. Just make sure that whatever you consult a gynaecologist for, should include all the details from your end for a proper diagnosis and subsequent course of treatment. 

If you are menstruating or know anyone who is, we recommend using LAIQA Sanitary Pads. Our pads are made from high-quality natural fibres, which are good for you and our planet! Our pads and liners guarantee no rashes, infections, or leaks since they are made using chemical-free, hypoallergenic materials!

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