The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a possible pregnancy. About once a month, the uterus grows a new, thick lining. This lining is then ready to receive a fertilized egg. The egg becomes fertilized if it joins with a man's sperm and implants in the lining of the uterus. This is how pregnancy starts. When there is no fertilized egg, the uterus sheds its lining. This is the monthly menstrual bleeding, or period. Women have periods from their early teen years until menopause, around age 50.
A normal cycle lasts from 21 to 35 days. Count from the first day of one menstrual period until the first day of your next period to find the number of days in your cycle.
Some women have no discomfort during their menstrual cycles. But others have mild to severe symptoms. If you have problems, ask your doctor about over-the-counter medicine. It may help relieve pain and bleeding.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
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Current as of: October 13, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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