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The periodic cyclic discharge of blood with mucosa from the uterus and passes out through vagina that are seen in females is called as menstruation. This process starts with the onset of menarche which begins at puberty in females and stops at menopause.

The process of menstruation comprises of inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) which is also called as a nutrient rich lining that is released from the female body every month she menstruates.

What happens during menstrual cycle?

The first day of your periods is called as 'Day 1'. The blood and tissue lining the womb starts breaking down and shedding from the body through the vaginal opening. This process occurs as a result of hormonal changes which takes place in a female body as a part of preparation for pregnancy in future. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissues from inside the uterus. In most of the women, bleeding lasts for minimum 5 days or so. But it does vary from person to person.

What is considered to be a Normal menstrual cycle?

A normal menstrual cycle lasts between 23 and 35 days. So, for example, a woman with a 28-day cycle would start a period every four weeks while a woman with a 23-day cycle would start every three weeks or so.

Unpredictable or longer menstrual cycles are normal for teenagers and women in their 40s. If you are a teenager and just started with your menstrual cycle, it might be irregular or abnormal. But there is nothing to worry about it, as it is quite natural at the initial stage.  If you are nearing the age of menopause, your menstrual cycles will probably become longer and will eventually stop.

What happens during menopause?

Menopause is usually a natural change; it typically occurs in women in mid-life, during their late 40s or early 50s, signalling the end of the fertile phase of a woman's life.

The menopausal transition starts with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period.

It is the time in a woman's life when the function of the ovaries ceases. There are lot of other problems a woman could face when she reaches the age of menopause like stress, mood-swings etc.  It is common and normal symptom of menopause and at times would be very troubling. Hormones are the main factors which regulates mood and emotions.

It is often helpful for women going through mood swings to understand the symptoms of this condition.

Some of the common types of mood swings that are noticed in women are:

1) Anxiety
2) Depression
3) Sadness
4) Aggression
5) Irritability
6) Nervousness etc.

What is an irregular/abnormal period and when to consult a doctor?

There could be many reasons for a woman to get irregular or abnormal periods. One such reason is stress. Stress can interrupt a woman's daily routine and her cycle.

If you are a teenager who has just started with her periods or an older woman who is approaching menopause, irregular cycles are common due to the fluctuation of hormones. Or if someone looses a significant amount of weight, her periods may be affected as well.

But these changes are said to be quite normal and there's nothing to be panic about. The situation where in someone requires to consult a doctor arises only when you skip your periods continuously for some months or so.

There are emotional disturbances also which is associated with the cyclic process in some women. Some of the emotional changes can be irritability, tiredness or weepiness.  This could be overcome by keeping oneself engaged in other entertaining activities of interest.

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