Menstruation: fact and figures
Menstruation is amazing part of a woman's body function. Here are some facts and figures:
- While it may seem like a lot of blood is lost, the average cycle only produces between 10-85ml, which is around three tablespoons.
- Day 1 of your menstrual cycle is the first day of bleeding.
- The average cycle is 28 days, but may be longer or shorter depending on the individual (anywhere from 21-35 days is considered normal).
- On average a girl will start menstruation at age 13 (called menarche) and will continue until she's around 51 (called menopause).
- In the mid-1800s the average age for a girl to start her period was 16 or 17. Better nutrition has contributed to the significant decline in the age for menarche.
- The colour of blood loss can vary from dark brown to bright red, depending on how old the blood is and how oxygen has affected it.
- In years gone by, girls were told they could not swim, have a bath or wash their hair while they had their period. This is most certainly a myth, it's important to have good hygiene at all times, especially when you have your period. You can swim, you will just need to use a tampon.
- While many woman suffer from period pain, not all will. If your period is heavier you are more likely to suffer monthly pain.
- Some nicknames for your period include: Aunty Flo, the monthly, on the rags, 'the time of the month', crimson tide, under repairs, crimson tide, the curse and a whole host of weird and silly things.
- Some women who live together or spend a great deal of time together discover their cycles become in sync.
- The blood you lose while on the contraceptive pill is not considered to be a 'real' period. It is also possible not to have a monthly blood loss while you're on the pill.
- While a menstrual cycle may have hereditary factors, a daughter's cycle can be quite different to her mother's.
This article was written by Corinne Draper for Kidspot, New Zealand's best parenting resource.