By now your daughter will be familiar with the U BY KOTEX® ‘What’s Happening To You’ program she’s learning in school. To help you continue the discussion at home, use this quick cheat sheet to answer any of her questions about the menstrual cycle:
- During the menstrual cycle hormones are released from different parts of the body to help control and prepare the body for pregnancy
- Ovulation is when the egg gets released, usually on the 14th day of a 28 day cycle – The egg moves from the ovary to the fallopian tubes (leading to uterus) where it waits to be fertilized by sperm
- If the egg is fertilized it takes approximately 2 days to reach the uterus
- If the egg is not fertilized, it begins to fall apart. The uterine lining breaks down and is shed - this bleeding is called a period
- In the early years of menstruation, your daughter’s cycle can be irregular – sometimes shorter (3 weeks), longer (6 weeks) or she may only have two or three periods a year
- If your daughter hasn’t had a period by the age of 15 or 2 years after the first signs of puberty you should consult a doctor
For more details information about first periods and the menstrual cycle see the Q&A section of the U by Kotex website: ubykotex.com.au/menstruation/
What is happening in a cycle
The period is considered the beginning of the menstrual cycle. A period normally lasts for around five day, but can be as short as two days or as long as seven. There will usually be around 2-6 tablespoons of blood lost during each period, depending on the heaviness of the flow. A period occurs because the uterus will shed its lining if an egg (ovum) is not fertilized.
Day 8 - 14
One of the ovaries releases an egg and the uterus begins to rebuild its lining. Only on egg is released each cycle. The egg will slowly travel down the fllopian tube from the ovaries towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilised by a sperm before it arrives in the uterus, a girl will fall pregnant.
Day 15 - 28
If the egg isn't fetilised, the uterus wall will continue to thicken until there is a sudden drop in hormone levels. The lining will then break down and another period will begin.