Menstruation, the cycle

A woman’s menstrual cycle begins at the beginning of puberty and ends when she enters menopause, often just before or just after the age of 50. It therefore strongly determines many women’s lives, with all the possible inconveniences that come with it. At least that’s how many women experience it.

The base

The menstrual cycle is not an exact science in terms of duration, because every woman’s body does it in its own way. But it can vary from a short cycle, where menstruation can occur again within 3 weeks, to a slow cycle, where we go towards 5 weeks. The duration of menstruation also differs per woman and varies from 2 to 3 days versus about 10 days. One is not better than the other, the woman’s body regulates itself.

They focus on about a month and that is also where the name comes from. Menstruation comes from “mensis”, which means “month” in Latin.

How does the cycle work

Every month the uterus prepares itself to “catch” an embryo. If this does not happen, the so-called endometrium (the thickened wall of the uterus) is shed. This shedding is the blood that occurs during menstruation and is around 44 to 50 milliliters at a time.

Pregnant or not?

Strictly speaking, we can say that the woman who is menstruating is not pregnant, but this cannot be said with 100% certainty. There are women who, for example, lose some blood due to the implantation of the embryo and this can be mistaken for menstruation. However, this type of bleeding is significantly less than normal menstruation.


Many women feel ovulation or the start of menstruation. The temperature may be higher and abdominal and back complaints may occur just before or during the start of menstruation. This is due to the firm compression of the uterus. The pain before menstruation usually has to do with the hormones in the woman’s body. Headache is a common complaint or oversensitive breasts, but unexplained muscle pain can also be a consequence.

By using contraceptives by a woman, menstruation can become less and the complaints can either completely or almost completely stop. Sex during menstruation can also reduce pain, although it should be noted that there are many women who have a reduced sex drive during menstruation.


Certain contraceptives can prevent menstruation, but many women still get menstruation every month, which means that there must be equipment to accommodate this. In earlier times, women wore terry cloth or cotton rags in their underpants to collect menstrual blood. This is why disposable sanitary towels were introduced, which from thickly padded rags have now become super-thin sanitary towels that are held in place in the underpants by means of an adhesive strip. You can also collect the blood in the vagina using a tampon. The stylized cotton wool that is inserted into the sheath and collects the blood there.

Furthermore, new options appear every time, for example the cup, but the sanitary towel and tampon remain the most commonly used means to collect the blood.


Because the cervix is slightly open during menstruation, it is good to pay extra attention to hygiene. It goes without saying that the vagina should always be cleaned with lukewarm or warm water, without soap or otherwise soft soap. Also replace the tampon or sanitary towel regularly. You don’t need more than that.


  • Women who spend a lot of time together can synchronize with each other’s periods. According to research, this has to do with the odors of women during menstruation.
  • Swimming or exercising in general is fine when you are menstruating. If it is very painful during this period, the woman will automatically not exercise, but is always allowed to do so.
  • Menstruation stops while swimming. This is mainly due to the cold stimulus of the water. To be on the safe side, it is not an unnecessary luxury to wear a tampon and replace it immediately after swimming.
  • The cycle of mother and daughter may be the same, but it has nothing to do with heredity. This can therefore also be completely different.