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What is menstruation?

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Shortly after the beginning of puberty in girls, and usually about two years after the development of breasts, menstruation starts. While menstruation usually begins between ages 12 and 13, it may happen at a younger or older age. The first menstrual period is called "menarche." The menstrual cycle is about four weeks long, starting on the first day of bleeding and ending when the next period begins. However, it can vary greatly when a girl first starts her period. It may skip months or come several times per month in the beginning. The menstrual discharge comes from the uterus through the vagina. The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ, responsible for maintaining and nourishing the embryo and fetus during a pregnancy. The vagina, or "birth canal," provides a path for menstrual fluids to leave the body. During a period, there are usually two to three days of relatively heavy bleeding followed by two to four days of lighter flow. The fluid during a menstrual period is a mixture of uterine lining tissue and blood. The total monthly menstrual loss varies from about four to 12 teaspoons.

From: All About Menstruation WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

Iwannaknow.org: "Puberty." 

WebMD Medical Reference:  .  Normal Menstrual Cycle

Cool Nurse.com:  "What You Need to Know About Menstruation."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Especially for Teens: Menstruation." 

The National Women's Health Information Center: "Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle."

Tampax: Usage questions: "Can I use a tampon overnight?"

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on April 18, 2019

SOURCES: 

Iwannaknow.org: "Puberty." 

WebMD Medical Reference:  .  Normal Menstrual Cycle

Cool Nurse.com:  "What You Need to Know About Menstruation."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Especially for Teens: Menstruation." 

The National Women's Health Information Center: "Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle."

Tampax: Usage questions: "Can I use a tampon overnight?"

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on April 18, 2019

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