Now, after much talk about perimenopause and menopause, we will take a u-turn and answer some very basic questions about your body.
The first question that brings you to us, or any physician, regarding your reproductive system is (usually) a menstrual irregularity. There might be many questions on your mind pertaining to the seriousness of the issue.
- Is my menstrual cycle telling me something about my body?
- Is an irregularity telling me something about my body?
- Do I have to be concerned about this irregularity?
- Do I need to see a doctor for this irregularity?
We will be answering all of these queries, but not right now. For that you will have to follow our series on Menstruation.
Like always, we will first begin with the basics, the menstrual cycle.
Understanding a normal menstrual cycle
What goes on in a normal menstrual cycle?
Until a few years back, one was constrained in terms of acquiring knowledge and information, sometimes irrelevant, but often very germane. Today, the internet has fulfilled this basic motive of universal access to knowledge. Educating oneself was never so easy.
This means fewer people lack knowledge about a normal menstrual cycle. However, a lot of bad information is available as well. Often there is no check on the quality of content. We believe strongly in the credibility of content, and so we will address both relevant and irrelevant questions about the menstrual cycle. You may often come across questions like “will a tubal reversal restore my normal menstrual cycle” or “will my uterus fall out after menopause.” The accuracy of some of this information, as well as the kind of information available, is not always correct.
Your menstrual cycle will not be affected by a tubal reversal(until you get pregnant after your tubal reversal). A tubal reversal does not affect your ovarian function or your uterine lining, so your menstrual cycles will remain the same.
Your uterus will not fall out after menopause… unless you have pelvic support issues. These will be addressed in another series on our blog. Uterine prolapse is an issue related to the support structures of the pelvic floor, and these are more commonly affected by genetic factors and childbirth trauma.
A menstrual cycle is a perfectly normal physiological occurrence that is supposed to happen after a female has reached puberty. More than just the cycle of monthly bleeding, menstrual cycles bring about some very essential hormonal changes which alter the appearance of a female body as well.
Only humans and some of our Darwin relatives (i.e. chimpanzees) have been blessed with the menstrual cycle. Although the rest of the mammals do have a uterus, their reproductive cycles differ and are called estrous cycles.
The main difference between a menstrual cycle and an estrous one is the show of blood. A menstrual cycle is completed with blood flow out of the body where as in an estrous cycle the bleeding is inside the body where the blood mostly stays inside the body. We hope you will not wonder about the menstrual cycles of your pet animals anymore now.
A menstrual cycle is an essential cycle required for a female before she can reproduce. Inability of a menstrual cycle to occur is read as a definitive issue with the reproductive system. We will discuss more of that and the normal physiological changes in menstruation in the next article.
Simply put, the brain produces a hormone that is transported in the blood to the ovaries. This hormone causes the ovary to produce a follicle. Inside of the follicle, an egg is developed. Ovulation is induced by another hormone from the brain sent down through the blood. Once this occurs, ovulation causes the follicle to break open and release the egg that has developed inside. The ruptured follicle (called the Corpus Luteum) will then begin to produce yet another hormone that makes the uterus a better place for the implantation of the fertilized egg (if it gets fertilized by a sperm). If the egg does not get fertilized (for example, a tubal ligation would prevent this) then the uterine lining is shed and released into the vagina. This is referred to as your menstrual cycle.