Teen Corner – About Your Period

Q. What is a menstrual period?

The female reproductive cycle occurs when girls begin to go through puberty. Menstruation (or “having a period”) is when a girl sheds her uterine lining through the vagina as it exits the body. Menstrual fluid consists of blood, tissue and an unfertilized egg. This process usually begins between the ages of 9-14. The first menstrual period is called menarche. In most females, this process occurs on a monthly basis except when they are pregnant or using hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills. Menstrual cycles continue until a woman reaches menopause and her ovaries no longer contain eggs.

Q. How long does it last?

The interval between a girl’s periods is called her “menstrual cycle”. The first day of bleeding is considered day one of the cycle. Approximately 90% of females will have regular menstrual cycles between 24 to 34 days. The duration of bleeding ranges between 2 to 7 days. Irregular menstrual periods are very common in girls following menarche. 40% to 50% of girls will have irregular menstrual cycles 2 to 4 years after their first period. It is helpful to use a calendar app like Period-View to keep track of your menstrual cycle.

Q. What is ovulation?

The release of an egg from the ovary is called ovulation. After the egg is released it is picked up by one of the fallopian tubes where it travels toward the uterus. The journey from the ovary to the uterus takes 5 to 6 days. If the egg is fertilized and attaches to the uterus, pregnancy has occurred. When the egg is not fertilized, the body sheds the uterine lining approximately two weeks after ovulation resulting in the start of a menstrual period.

Q. What are fertile days?

Pregnancy is possible for about 5 days each month, around the time of ovulation. On average, ovulation occurs 12 to 16 days before the menstrual period begins. Sperm can live in a woman’s reproductive tract for 3 to 5 days. It is possible to become pregnant if sex occurs 2 to 3 days before ovulation.

Q. What is fertility awareness?

Fertility Awareness is knowing when your fertile days are and taking steps to become pregnant or precautions to prevent pregnancy.

There are three methods:

• Calendar a “rhythm method” which Period View illustrates with its calendar feature.
• Standard Days Method (SDM) which is for women with a 26 to 32 day cycle marked by beads.
• Basal Body Temperature (BBT) which Period View charts. For more info on Basal Body Temperature, click here.