Puberty signifies the point of significant growth and development a person will go through. The changes and phenomena which occur during these times lead to a bigger stage of one’s life and are often associated with reproduction.
Women’s bodies, for example, prepare for pregnancy every month during the years between puberty (usually between the ages of 11 and 14) and menopause (often around the age of 51). This happens through a process called “menstruation”, or regular vaginal bleeding, which is a normal aspect of a woman with a uterus and ovaries Their uterine lining thickens, and an egg develops inside one of their ovaries before being expelled.
In the absence of pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels decline until they ultimately reach a level that signals your body to start menstruating. The uterus sheds its lining during your period, and it is expelled from the body through the vagina along with some blood. During their period, most women who menstruate shed between two and three tablespoons of blood.
Menarche (First Period)
Each subsequent menstrual cycle is the consequence of several endocrine glands (hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovary) and end organs working together effectively (pituitary–ovarian follicle–endometrium). Menarche not only marks the beginning of the time of the reproductive ability, but the right timing of the occurrence has ramifications for both short and long-term health.
The average age a girl gets her first period ranges from year twelve to thirteen. This is called the menarche, and often goes around two years after a girl’s breast and pubic hair has started growing or developing. Getting your first period in between the age of 8 to 15, however, is normal. It is only common for some girls to experience their first period at a younger age, while some have it at an older age. Though getting it at an age earlier than eight and later than fifteen may be alarming.
Adolescents’ physical and behavioral issues like anxiety/depression, substance use, and suicidal behavior are all linked to early menarche. The epiphyseal growth plates may fuse prematurely as a result, and the young woman’s final adult height may be lower than her potential genetic height. Menarche before the age of 12 has been linked in the Korean population to a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus in young and middle-aged women. It has also been related to more excellent rates of adult hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, and obesity, which puts women at higher risk for cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Menopause (Last Period)
Menopause is the process a female undergoes regarding her period before it stops permanently. A woman’s menopause is a typical stage of life, just as how menarche also is. Menopause does not take place all at once and is commonly referred to as “the change of life.” You may experience menopause symptoms and irregular periods as your body makes the transition to menopause over several years. In most parts of the world, including the Philippines, menopause typically occurs at age 48 – 50. However, the period your menarche begins holds a huge impact on when your menopause will occur. Usually, females that had their menarche early also get to the menopausal stage earlier than those who had it normal or late.
The interval just before your last menstruation is referred to as perimenopause. The phrase “around menopause” is perimenopause. Your hormone levels may fluctuate erratically as your body enters menopause, resulting in unanticipated menopause symptoms. Your ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone during this transitional period than usual. This is the time when irregular periods occur because you might not ovulate every month. Your periods can be longer or shorter than normal. You could miss a few months or experience menstrual periods that are unusually long or short. You can have a heavier or lighter period than normal. During this transition, a lot of women also experience hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
Following the regular duration range when a woman begins and ends her period, a female menstruates for around 38 years in one lifetime. Depending on the exact age she had her menarche, it usually extends to 30 to 40 years before menopause. Either way, awareness of reproductive health during these times is crucial.