The still veiled cycle of menstruation

It was a time when we were in class sixth, the age when various internal and external bodily changes occured. The discoveries were our own as no one used to talk about it and we were told it is time to focus only on studies rather getting involved in useless conversation. In schools I remember those days the most common punishment was sitting out of the principal’s office which was rather a fun instead of feeling that you were punished.

I remember our class was punished as we all were shouting in the class and as usual we were having a fun time. Suddenly we heard one of our class-mate sitting and crying, reason to which was not known to any of us not even her best friend. Our teacher was called up by the CR (class representative) and we could see her talking. After some time we were instructed to go back to the class and the story was still a mystery to us. The only thing some of us could see was the blood stained uniform of our friend. However, answer to this mystery came to my knowledge after 3 years of time when I was able to relate to that situation which we now commonly know as ‘periods’.

What is Menstruation: “Menstruation is the actual process of bleeding also called as periods, menses or menstrual periods. It usually occurs as the girl grows at around the age of 11-12,” Dr. Neerja Malik, M.D., Obs. & Gynecology, Batra Hosptial, New Delhi says. She emphasizes that the age varies and it has been found in the recent few years that it is showing a decreasing trend. Times gone when earlier it was around 12-13 years but today it has been found that it varies a lot may be earlier as 10 or late as 15 years. The factors that are responsible for this are the environment, dietary habits and the life style of today’s youth. Baby girls are born with ovaries uterus and fallopian tube.

The two ovaries are oval shaped and are on the either side of the uterus in the lowest part of the abdomen. They contain thousands of eggs or ova. Two fallopian tube stretches from the ovary to the uterus in the middle of the pelvis. As the girls mature and reaches puberty, hormones that are released (by pituitary gland) stimulates the ovaries to produce other hormones (Progesterone and Estrogen).

Once a month ovulation occurs where a tiny egg leaves one of the ovaries and travels down from the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Before this the hormone estrogen stimulates the uterus to build up its lining with extra tissue and blood preparing the uterus for pregnancy. If the sperm cell fertilizes the egg, it travels and gets attached to the thick cushioned wall of the uterus from where it gradually develops into a baby. If it doesn’t, the lining tissue and the egg flow out of the uterus through the vagina and leave the body which happens often, then the happening – is known as ‘menstruation’. Girls may have headache, water retention in the body and also cramps. Emotional changes can be due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which can be seen in the form of irritability, mood swing, etc. The doctor says, if this issue messes up a girl in having a normal living it is of no harm to go and consult a doctor. It is totally a myth that medicines should not be taken, instead one can go for symptomatic treatment.

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