The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg — a process called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.
The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, isn’t the same for every woman. Menstrual flow might occur every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days. For the first few years after menstruation begins, long cycles are common. However, menstrual cycles tend to shorten and become more regular as you age.
Your menstrual cycle might be regular — about the same length every month — or somewhat irregular, and your period might be light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short, and still be considered normal. Within a broad range, “normal” is what’s normal for you.
Keep in mind that use of certain types of contraception, such as extended-cycle birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), will alter your menstrual cycle.
How can you track your menstrual cycle?
Medflit Menstrual calculator can help you record your menstrual cycle frequently.
If you’re concerned about your periods, then also make note of the following every month:
End date: How long does your period typically last? Is it longer or shorter than usual?
Flow: Record the heaviness of your flow. Does it seem lighter or heavier than usual? How often do you need to change your sanitary protection? Have you passed any blood clots?
Abnormal bleeding: Are you bleeding in between periods?
Pain: Describe any pain associated with your period. Does the pain feel worse than usual?