Menstruation is the routine discharge, or release, of blood and mucosal tissue from the uterus. This process occurs about once a month from the time a female reaches puberty until menopause. During pregnancy, the monthly menstrual cycle is absent while the womb nourishes the growing fetus.

21,151 Questions
Pregnancy Symptoms
Vital Signs

What are the symptoms right before your period?

Reasons for Menstrual Period Symptoms

Studies indicate that almost 80% women suffer the effects of menstrual discomforts. The world over women experience some typical symptoms of menstrual period flow. But we first need to know the mechanics behind the activity to understand why these symptoms appear and what makes them such a problem.

Every month a woman's ovaries release one egg into her uterus. This egg stays there , waiting to be fertilized, and after a few days, is discharged from the uterus along with its tissue lining . This was the lining that had been prepared by nature to create a soft, warm cocoon for the fetus that would have been conceived had the egg got fertilised. This is nature's own baby basket and its warm lining.

But when the egg doesn't get fertilized, and is expelled from the body with a bloody vaginal discharge, this is called the menstrual flow. This process is called menstruation. As this blood, tissue and the egg flow out from the vagina, they cause some physical discomfort but most of the pain associated with the menstrual flow is largely hormones related.

Menstrual Period Symptoms

The most common symptom of menstruation is the pain in the abdomen. In many cases this is located at the lower abdomen or lower back area. The pain usually starts from a couple of days before the actual flow starts and is generally referred to as PMS - Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. There are other symptoms that are equally discomforting but until very recently it was dismissed as female drivel , fuss over a pain that is nowhere else except for in the imagination. But science has now established that discomforts and pain during the menstrual flow are not psychological, they have very physical roots. Most of these pains are caused by dramatically fluctuating hormone levels in the body. Whoever said that the ability to give birth would come easy?

The pain or menstrual cramps usually come because during the first five days of the menstrual period, the uterus is contracting in spasms, in order to shed the lining. The pain is a much milder form of what she will experience during childbirth, also a contractions- led activity. The muscle contractions here are cause by a chemical called prostaglandins. This hormone causes the muscles of the uterus to contract for a longer period of time, sometimes depriving it of oxygen. This is what causes menstrual cramps.

Then after 14 days, the hormonal level changes to prepare for the release of the next egg. The hormone levels of both estrogen and progesterone keep rising till about 4 days before the next period, and then, if fertilization has not taken place, they fall. This sudden change causes more irritation and emotional imbalance in a woman. People refer this discomfort to, when they talk about 'that time of the month'.

Around the time ovulation happens there is a pain in the back, abdomen or even dizziness. Just about a week before the actual menstrual period flow starts, the woman may experience bloating. This is water retention on legs and around the middle, sometimes even the face. The other symptoms are breast tenderness, decreased activity levels and lack of sleep. Some women also experience changes in appetite while some others break out in acne. There sometimes seems to be a slight loss of coordination, so many women experience trouble in driving in this PMS state. A woman approaching this time usually experiences attacks of anxiety and social withdrawal. The most common of all symptoms, is irritability or moodiness, depression and angry outbursts. Nausea, headache, gas in the abdomen, indigestion and sometimes even diarrhea are common symptoms and pains of menstrual period. If these pains get more severe than normal, they are taken to be a disorder called dysmenorrhea.

The bad news is that menstrual pain and discomfort does not spare any woman who is in the fertile age bracket, usually between 12 and 51. Class, culture, body type, even race make no difference.

Birth Control
Birth Control Pill

Can the birth control pill cause a missed period?

You usually get your period when you start taking the sugar pills, but you can miss your period on the birth control pills for a number of reasons:

  • Bleeding is supposed to be lighter when you are on the pill and last for a shorter period of time. Sometimes bleeding can be so light that it's absent or unnoticable. Some women find this helpful, and others find it disturbing. It is not dangerous, but if you find it stressful, talk with your health care provider about a possible pill change.
  • Some birth control makes you have your period 3 or 4 times a year. If you don't know, do some research about your birth control or ask your health care provider.
  • Not getting your period could obviously mean pregnancy. If you've missed pills, or if you have symptoms of pregnancy, take a home pregnancy test.
  • If you threw away the placebo pills (sugar pills) and started your next pack immediately, skipping your periods is normal.
  • If you're on the progesterone-only pill (e.g. Micronor or Nora-B), not having withdrawal bleeding is normal.
  • There's no danger in starting the pill for the first time in between period, but it might increase the risk of having no withdrawal bleeding at the end of the first pack.
  • If you missed a pill or two and then doubled up, you can have a late or missed period, even though you did the right thing.

To be accurate, you do not have periods while using combined birth control pills; instead, you have a withdrawal bleed because you're no longer putting the hormones in your body.
It shouldn't it should just regulate it.

Conditions and Diseases

Does an illness make your period late?

Some illnesses can in some people, especially those illnesses that involve the endocrine system and hormone production, such as diabetes. If you have other symptoms and have a late period, you may need to have an exam by your gynecologist.

Women's Health
Periods and Conception

Can stress delay your menstrual cycle?

Yes it is possible to get late periods due to stress. Due to weakness and unhealthy diet our body hormones get changed that causes changes in period cycle.Stress is an essential factor that causes delay in monthly cycle.


How do you find out what day ovulation occurs if your period is not regular?

  • My advice is to buy the Clearblue Fertility Monitor and or ovulation predictor strips to detect the LH surge. The LH surge is a hormone that surges about 36 hours before your egg pops out. Intercourse on that day increases chances of pregnancy dramatically.
  • On average a women ovulates about two weeks before her period starts.
  • I ovulate about 20 days after the start of my period and I think all women should know. I have ovulated as early as the 16th day. I highly recommend the Couple to Couple League ( It is a catholic thing because they don't believe in birth control, but if you can get past the preachy stuff it is really helpful in learning about how your body works.
  • The ideal way of knowing when you ovulate is to purchase ovulation kits from the chemist and/or supermarket. Generally women ovulate between days 12-18. The kits have 5 testers in them, sometimes you may need to purchase two kits to know exactly when your body is ovulating if your cycles are irregular.
  • If you have an irregular period, then it is hard to predict when you ovulate. Being irregular means you could ovulate 2 times a month, have 2 periods a month, or like 2 periods a year. Physicians suggest that you should not try to predict your ovulation day if you're irregular. I have an irregular period because my cycle length is not the normal 28-day length, instead it's either, 25, 26, 27, or 29 days. For May, it was 29. April, it was 27. March, it was 26.
  • The easiest way to tell if you're ovulating is to check your vaginal mucus. Having a vaginal mucus that is clear, slippery, and stretchable when pinched with two fingers means that you're ovulating. If you have a thick, non-stretchable, egg-white vaginal discharge, then chances are you're not ovulating or you could be having a yeast infection, STD, etc.
  • It is not particularly difficult to tell when you are ovulating---the cervical mucus is more abundant, clear, and stringy. Non-fertile day mucus is scanty, cloudy, and tacky. You can tell the difference on toilet paper if you pay attention. You get fertile mucus for a few days before you ovulate, to assist sperm in getting past the cervix and into the womb. If you avoid making love during the fertile mucus times and for three days afterward, you will not get pregnant. You can have fertile mucus more than once in your cycle.
  • They sell ovulation tests in most drug or grocery stores.
  • You can purchase an ovulation test kit that is available from a pharmacy/chemist. It usually contains about five tests.
  • My best advice and what worked for me is to start with the earliest days..for instance next month start using the ovulation predictor 12 days before last months period (it don't matter if you have irregular periods) began and chart from there. You will more than likely get a positive reading sometime during that time. Hope that this helps!!
Pregnancy Symptoms
Periods and Conception
Birth Control Pill

Does a brown blood period while on the pill indicate pregnancy?

no i would say not. i was on the camila pill, a pill with only progesterone in it, and i got the same thing. i was on the pill for about seven months and that happened starting after about a month. my doctor said that might happen due to hormonal changes in my body/ More input from FAQ Farmers: * Nah... I wouldn't worry about it. I was on the pill for about 10 years and would occasionally have this. My doctor said it was just old blood. If you are really worried about it, see your OBGYN! * Not necessarily. I just went through it. It is common if you have just started taking the pill. You can potentially have brown blood for three months while your body adjusts. Or if you have missed a couple if pills you can have "break through" bleeding that will occur prior to your actual period. Give a quick call to your doc and they will explain it. I have recentlty learned that its quite common.


Are periods contagious?

your periods can be influenced by the people around you........ but this is hormonal .......periods are not contagious like a cold or the flu

Middle Ages
Century - 1600s

How did women handle the menstruation in ancient and medieval times?

The last one to answer this was so wrong. Women were smarter than to just "sit in a hole for a week." So here's an improvement.

Ancient Egyptians used a compress of linen with a sponge on top, like a pad. They also had internal menstrual protection of rolled cotton or papyrus. Yep, that's right: tampons! If the woman had strange pains of other indications that the bleeding was unnatural, there were many herbal remedies a doctor would blend, wrap in linen, and use as a suppository. Basically, a tampon filled with herbs and honey. How nice!
The ancient Greeks invented tampons made from lint wrapped around a small piece of wood, recorded in writing by the famous Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C.

Israelite women had a really hard time. They were considered "unclean," and anything they touched or sat on was unclean.

When a woman has a discharge and the discharge form her body is blood, she will remain in a state of menstrual pollution for seven days. Anyone who touches her will be unclean. Anything that she lies on in this state will be unclean; Anyone who touches her bed must wash clothing and body. If a man goes so far as to sleep with her, he will contract her menstrual pollution and be unclean for seven days. Once she is cured of her discharge, she will allow seven days to go by; after that she will be clean. On the eighth day she will take two turtledoves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The priest will offer one of them as a sacrifice for the sin and the other as a burnt offering." (Leviticus 15:19-30)

Seven days unclean, then another seven days had to go by after she was "cured." In a cycle that took place every 28 days, that meant she was "clean" only half the time. Because of this, the women were secluded during their period. They didn't have much, so a couple yards of linen was used to absorb the blood, which then had to be washed out by hand. This horrendous hassle is what gave menstruating women a bad reputation throughout the Dark Ages and even up until the Age of Enlightenment.

Women in the Middle Ages also made tampons. Cotton was easy to come by. They would roll these into a suppository with a string attached from the cotton "tampon" to their upper thigh, believing that if they didn't, the tampon would float up and lodge in their uterus.

Here's an herbal recipe:

Take half a drachma of triacle diatesseron, the same amounts of cockle flour and myrrh, and grind them together with bull's gall in which savin or rue has been rotted. Then cover the mixture with cotton and thereof make a suppository as large as your little finger and put it in your privy member, but first anoint it with clean honey and oil together, sprinkle powder of scammony on it, and put it in the privy member; one can do the same with lupin root, and that is much better.

Of course, this sort of weird concoction made the woman bloat badly.
Many cultures used different ways to help a women during "that time of the month," but usually the cure was the same as today: a tampon of cotton or cloth, or a dressing of linen like a pad, with herbs to take care of the pain.

They did not simply "sit in a hole."


Can the Atkins diet affect menstruation?

YES. It's hard to find answers to this question online, but I have experienced menstruation changes myself on Atkins and have found a scarce few forums where other women also verify this. Basically, it's common for it to make you get your period when you aren't supposed to, early mainly. No one seems to know why, and Dr. Atkins never even touched the subject in any of his books, but it happens. My thoughts are that it could be the hormones from all the meats and cheese (even dairy cows get shot up with hormones!). It isn't a very nice surprise to get your time of the month early, but it does eventually level out again.

Women's Health
Spotting While Pregnant

What would spotting pinkish brownish discharge a few days off and on before your period mean?

Brown vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of some serious medical conditions.


You have some spotting when you ovulate and before and after your period. This is pretty normal. This pinkish/brownish color is blood and there is so little that it just tints your discharge. Spotting is very normal for both of those times during the cycle.

Also it could be implantation bleeding where the egg implants into the uterus, that is if you are sexually active and have not been using protection.

It could be Implantation bleeding sign of pregnancy or just a problem which is nothing to do with pregnancy. Go and see a doctor.

Spotting before periods in women over 30 can also indicate the beginning of perimenopause. When spotting appears 2-3 days before the periods are due, it can indicate that the corpus luteum is breaking down too early causing the luteal phase to be shorter than normal. Perimenopause spotting is cause by sudden drop in estrogen levels and low progesterone production due to anovulatory cycles. If a woman is trying to get pregnant and her luteal phase is shorter that 10-12 days she may suffer an early miscarriage. Other possible causes can be cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, UTI, yeast infection, STDs, etc.

If a woman has a IUD, this can also be the cause.

Making a doctor's appointment to discuss this situation is a very good idea in order to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

Women's Health
Spotting While Pregnant

What would having brownish spotting in between periods mean?

Brown vaginal discharge is most often associated with old endometrial tissues. If your period is late you might get a brown, rather than red, discharge. It could also mean that for whatever reason during your last menses the entire uterine lining failed to make a timely exit. Brown Discharge may happen right after periods, and is just "cleaning out" your vagina. Old blood looks brown. This may occur when you are ovulating in the middle of menstrual cycle.

Brown vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of a medical concern that is much more sinister than leftover endometrial cells. Some of these conditions include Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), menopause, sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, Chlamydia or genital warts) or cervical cancer.

Sometimes brown discharge could appear during using birth control pills which is a side effect of pills.

It is called breakthrough bleeding, the color is brown because it is old blood. It is a very common side effect when taking the pill. If you are not on the pill, ask your doctor to ensure it's not a sign of something more serious. Luck to you.

Irregular periods and spotting in between periods is quite frequent among women. If it happens once in a while (meaning up to a couple times a year), it might not mean anything serious.

The brown color is due to old blood cells sometimes mixed in with discharge.

If it happens frequently, you should contact your doctor or gynecologist.

The above it true, but also a woman might have light bleeding when she is ovulating.

All of the above is true but its not serious if you have brown spots. After all the system is cleaning its self!

Spotting between periods could also mean that you are pregnant.

Drinking Water

Does drinking vinegar an water stop your period?

No. Please go learn some basic biology, drinking vinegar/water will have no effect on your menstrual cycle whatsoever


Can you get an STD from sucking a breast?

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) by nature require sexual contact to be transmitted. Someone may get herpes or syphilis from someone sucking their breasts, and then may pass it along to someone else. Breast milk may include HIV, although an adult drinking infected breast milk may be at lower risk than an infant. Overall, the person with the breast is more likely to get an STD from this activity than the person whose mouth is on the breast.
Absolutely not!

Women's Health

What is the world's longest menstruation period?

I'm 17 and due to the contraceptive implant I had a period that lasted from the 5th November 2011 until July 31st 2012, believe it or not. I bled every single day non stop throughout those dates. On the 31st I got the implant removed and I was period free until August the 2nd(today) So only 2 days and now it's back. I just want to crawl into a cave.

I believe I deserve some form of world record.

I used 2 boxes of tampons every week, someone should calculate how much I spent. (£3 for 1 box haha)

Tubal Ligation
Tubal Reversal

How soon after tubal ligation can you take a bath?

The day after!


Why am i cramping but i haven't got my period i was supposed to get my period on sep 26 and i still havent got it i had sex like almost 2weeks ago but we used a condom?

I feel ya, im suppose to have my period and i have cramping as well but no period, i have been off depo for 2 months...i'm so worried about being pregnant, i was on birth control in Sept. but dont know when to start it again, because no long have you been off Depo?

Conditions and Diseases
Dieting and Weight Loss
Eating Disorders

Does Eating Disorder stop your Period?

sometimes. It stopped mine. it happens when your body is malnourished, so your body tries to tell you that something is wrong, so the period is the first thing to go. Your body knows that if you are malnourished, there is no way that you'll be able to carry a child


What are the side affects of using tampons?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is rare but still thought to effect 1 in 700 women.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused when certain strains of bacteria multiply and start to produce TSST-1 toxins, these toxins enter the bloodstream and if the person lacks antibodies then the TSST-1 toxins overwhelm the immune system - this leads to something similar to septic shock, initial symptoms include high fever and low blood pressure but long-term it can result in organ failure.

Tampons account for 75% of all TSS cases - in particular rayon tampons such as Tampax, Playtex, or Kotex (cotton tampons have never been associated with TSS) - this is because tampons provide bacteria with the perfect environment to multiply, effect vaginal pH, prevent vaginal cleaning, and damage vaginal tissues giving TSST-1 a more direct route into the bloodstream.

Tampons can also risk;

  • Increased menstrual cramps (as a result of expanding into the cervix).
  • Increased bleeding (as a result of damage to vaginal tissues).
  • Vaginal infections (as a result of bacterial growth).
  • Irritation or allergic reaction (as a result of chemicals in rayon tampons).
  • Dioxin exposure from rayon tampons, risking endometriosis and cancer.
Women's Health
Reproductive System

Can you carry a baby without fallopian tubes and ovaries?

You cannot become pregnant but you could carry a baby.

Women's Health
Periods and Conception

What might cause frequent irregular periods?

Frequent Irregular Periods

I am not a doctor, but this is from a website - can I recommend that you see your doctor? Abnormal bleeding (either heavy bleeding or bleeding between periods) can have many causes. Bleeding can occur from the vagina secondary to trauma, infection or cancer, and can be diagnosed with cultures, pap smear or actual visualization of a lesion. The cervix can bleed abnormally also secondary to fibroids, infection, polyps or cancer, as is the case with the uterus. Ovarian and other estrogen producing tumors can also cause abnormal uterine bleeding. I?m sure you noticed that cancer appeared several times in this list. Although it must be ruled out, it is not the usual diagnosis with abnormal uterine bleeding.

Here are more answers from other FAQ Farmers:

  • Irregular periods can also be a sign of endometriosis. This is a nagging condition that can cause dull pain (like mild menstrual cramps) or intense pain (like being jabbed with a knife). It can also cause irregular bleeding, pain during and after sex and pain with urination. Mention it to your physician if the symptoms persist.


There are many factors which are responsible for irregular periods:

  • A woman can have irregular periods due to significant weight loss or weight gain;
  • Over exercise can also result in irregular menstruation;
  • In some cases increased stress is cause of irregular menstruation;
  • Poor nutrition and diet which is rich in carbohydrates is also related to hormonal imbalance and menstrual disturbances;
  • Some drugs can also cause irregularities in menstruation;
  • Many women who are smokers experience irregular periods;
  • Some eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa also cause menstrual cycle irregularities.

Are there any exercises to get your first period?

No, there is nothing that you can do to reach menarche (first period) earlier.

You will only start to menstruate once you reach an age where your body is mature enough to start ovulating. You can't force your body to mature any more than you can force your body to grow an extra foot in height overnight. Your body will mature in time as it's supposed to, you can't change that.


Can pneumonia cause late periods?

Not usually, since the reproductive system and the respiratory system are fairly well separated in your body physically and physiologically. But, anything that disrupts normal body function in one body system could potentially cause problems in other systems, which could then allow for opportunistic infections if you are exposed to bacteria or viruses while you are "down". Possible, but not probable.

Periods and Conception

Can a woman ovulate twice before her next period?

Yes, a woman can ovulate twice during her menstrual cycle but it would still be during the ovulation phase of her menstrual cycle. A woman cannot just randomly ovulate, her menstrual cycle controls when she ovulates - typically women will ovulate two weeks before menstruation.

To correct a previous answer: Orgasm does not cause ovulation, that's not biologically possible.


What causes hot flashes in feet?

Why do i get red all over when i have a hotflash


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