Q: What is menstruation?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Menstruation is the time of the month when a woman bleeds. It is the body’s way of shedding the uterine lining. The menstrual cycle occurs on average in periods of 21 to 35 days and is marked by shifts in hormone levels.
Q: What happens during this cycle?
Marla Ahlgrimm: At the beginning of the cycle, estrogen levels begin to rise. Estrogen, also known as the “female hormone,” is essential in allowing the lining of the uterus to thicken and grow. Once a woman ovulates, her egg travels through the fallopian tube, alternating month-to-month. Her hormone levels rise in preparation of pregnancy. If conception does not occur, this uterine lining is released through a small opening in the cervix and expelled through the vagina.