Menstruation Cycle

Menstruation - it affects all women differently, some women experience great pain and discomfort, while others do not experience any problems at all


A female's menstruation cycle takes place regularly in mammals.  The term 'overt' is used when bleeding takes place in humans and close relatives such as the chimpanzees.  When bleeding does not take place this is termed as 'covert' meaning that the lining of the uterus has been absorbed back into the body.  This happens in other mammals and is known as an oestrus cycle.  Much of the lining is reabsorbed in humans too. 

Menstruation usually starts about 2 years after puberty begins, also known as 'menarche' and stops at menopause, the average age of this is 52. However, the age of menarche is falling and in Europe the age was 17 prior to 1830.  By 1960 this had dropped to 13.

In the USA by the year 2000 the average age for the start of menstruation cycle was around 12 and a half years for white girls and 12 years for African American and Mexican girls.

In the Industrial Revolution times, pollution played a huge role as it blocked the sun and working long hours in the dark factories, especially in the winter where no sun was soon, took its toll.  In 2011 a study revealed that a lack of vitamin D3 lowered the age of menarche.   This would explain why darker skinned girls in northern latitudes have an earlier start and why the sudden drop began in the Industrial Revolution.  Nowadays people spend about 90% of their time indoors - result, a vitamin D3 deficiency.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDS's) - or estrogen mimics are also to blame.  There are over 100 estrogen mimics in our environment as it is see - Our Stolen Future.  It is happening the world over and foetuses and infants are exposed the most.  Gone are the days when baby's bottles were made of glass, it is all plastic today  i.e.  mugs, teething rings and toys are now all made of plastic containing EDS's such as BPA (bisphenol A) and the phthalates.  Even their food is heated in plastic containers or PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls) coated frying pans etc.  All detrimental to the health of the baby.

The earlier females commence with their menstruation cycle, the longer she is exposed to estrogen making the risk of cardiometrabolic disorders and cancers greater.  Sadly some children become sexually active as young as eight or younger.  It is perfectly normal for a menstruation cycle otherwise known as a 'period' to start with a small amount of blood, then increasing slightly to heavy and then it starts to taper off.

Eumenorrhea - is the term used for normal menstruation lasting between 3-5 days, but 2-7 days is also considered normal.  Blood lost during this time is roughly 10-80ml, 35ml being the average.

Dysmenorrhea - is the terms used for a painful 'period' due to contractions of the uterus as it expels the lining.  These contractions are caused by prostaglandins which also causes uterine cramps during childbirth.

Amenorrhoea - is the absence of the menstruation cycle.

Hypomenorrhea - means very little blood loss - less than 10ml.

Oligomenorrhoea - means rare periods occurring at intervals or more than 35 days.  The normal cycle length is between 21-35 days thereby making 28 days the average.  In some women the cycle length can vary from 1-8 periods a year.  Oligomenorrhoea is often found in those suffering from PCOS.

Metrorrhagia - or abnormal bleeding usually takes place during Peri-Menopause where the normal cycle length becomes disrupted.  It is associated with anovulation (lack of ovulation).  During the first few months before menopause, bleeding can be excessive leading to menorrhagia.

Menorrhagia or Hypermenorrhea - is excessive blood flow for a prolonged period of time.  Caused by hormonal imbalances and exacerbated by Fibroids, Cancer, PCOS and Adenomyosis amongst others.

During the follicular or first phase of the menstruation cycle, the lining of the uterus builds up under the influence of estrogen, this is known as a proliferative lining.  Estrogen is now the dominant hormone as progesterone levels are always very low.

During the second luteal phase of the cycle, the lining stops growing and becomes secretory under the influence of progesterone, which is normally the dominant hormone.  However, there are many women who experience low levels of progesterone during the luteal phase which causes terrible misery.

Anovulation or lack of ovulation or a defective luteal phase are the culprits.  In a normal menstruation cycle, 21-35 days, irrespective of the cycle length, ovulation always occurs 12-14 days BEFORE bleeding.  In other words, the luteal phase begins at ovulation and lasts until bleeding occurs. 

In a defective luteal phase, bleeding occurs BEFORE the 12-14 days is up.  Spotting can sometimes occur for a number of days before the main bleed.  This is when the corpus luteum makes insufficient progesterone. 

Estrogen is vital during puberty when it causes breasts and hips to develop.  It also stimulates fat cells to develop.  This causes the thicker fatty layer women have compared to men.  Fat cells are also a non-ovarian source of estrogen.

This is vital as once a month it stimulates an egg/eggs to grow and mature.  Also vital in stimulating the endometrium each month to grow and thicken preparing for a possible fertilised egg.  However, in excess it stimulates endometrial cells to continue growing and without enough progesterone to suppress the estrogen, they will continue to grow.

A balance is always needed and it is vital that this be checked otherwise the excitatory hormones like estrogen will continue to stimulate.

Matrix Mettalloproteinases ((M's) are enzymes which break down protein.  their roll is to break down the endometrial tissues at the end of the menstrual cycle.  If they are over active  i.e.  excess estrogen in the body, as estrogen stimulates their products, the result is a pathological reaction.  A high level of MMP's can lead to inflammation and excessive bleeding in the uterus.

If progesterone is low and estrogen is high, the lining will continue to grow and will start to break down.  Progesterone suppresses both MMP's and estrogen.

MMP's are essential for remodelling of tissue, they are also partly responsible for many inflammatory diseases.  Estrogen is also high in these diseases, in fact many autoimmune diseases have a high level of estrogen and MMP's.  Please contact me for more information on Inflammation.

Alcohol can also cause irregular menstruation cycles.  They can range from anovulation, luteal phase dysfunction, recurrent amenorrhea, early menopause and increases the risk of spontaneous abortions and breast cancer.

Contraceptives and alcohol together will cause the level of estradiol to increase and progesterone levels to drop.  If not using contraceptives but drinking alcohol, the level of progesterone decreases.  In either case the ratio of the two hormones becomes unbalanced.  Alcohol also increases testosterone levels, which can lead to hyperandrogenism.  Excess testosterone reduces progesterone levels.  Alcohol is a carbohydrate and all sugars cause sex hormone binding globulin to decrease (SHBG).  Fructose, sucrose and glucose decrease SHBG by 80, 50 and 40% respectively.  a low level of SHBG allows free testosterone to rise and to a lesser degree, estrogen.  Progesterone increases SHBG levels which reduces free testosterone.  women with low SHBG and high free testosterone can suffer from severe PMS.

The ovarian cycle is also disrupted by stress.  Cysts may develop which will stop the secretion of progesterone.  As progesterone is vital to the functioning of a normal cycle, it is essential to reduce stress as much as possible.  Hard in today's world.  Progesterone is very calming due to its action on the GABA receptor sites.  GABA is one of the most calming neurotransmitters.  contact me for more information on reducing stress and anxiety.  Progesterone also prevents the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline which lessens the stress response.

Menorrhagia -  if continual bleeding is a problem it is important to use a high amount of progesterone - between 400-600mg per day is normally needed.  If the bleeding is continual, use it both daily and hourly.  This will keep the progesterone level high throughout the day.

If there is a menstruation cycle, it is best to use progesterone daily, hourly too, until the bleeding is under control.  Progesterone can also be used to regulate the cycle once bleeding has stopped. 

Before using progesterone it is important that you read and understand Estrogen Dominance first see here and How to use Progesterone Cream see here

If the heavy bleeding occurs during Peri-Menopause, progesterone will stop it, but will not regulate the cycle again. 

Progestins are often given to stop bleeding but these suppress progesterone production and come with adverse side effects.  Please read Contraceptives.

The following powerful antioxidants will help with heavy, continual bleeding:

  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) - 2000mg per day
  • Taurine - 2000mg per day
  • Vitamin D3 - 5 000iu's per day, more if vitamin D3 level is low.  Vitamin D3 actually helps to shrink fibroids
  • Bioflavanoids - 1000mg per day

Vitamin D3 is essential for the normal function of all cells.  Have a blood teV

Important to note that vitamin D3 specialists recommend that levels should be a minimum of 50ng/ml (125nmol).  However, recent studies show that 70-100ng/ml (175-250nmol) is recommended and NOT the 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) which is regarded as adequate by various governments.  The minimum daily dose should be 5 000iu's per day, but latest research is suggesting that it should be 10 000iu's per day.  See here.

Taurine is another powerful antioxidant.  Low levels have been found in women with endometrial cancer, cystic endometrial hyperplasia, birbroids and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Bioflavonoids have been found to strengthen capillaries which appear to be weakened in heavy, continual bleeding or spotting.  A study comprised 90% diosmin and 10% hesperidin.

Website References for Menstruation:

Other References:

Endometrial Haemostasis and Menstruation

Serum Taurine as a Market of Endometrial Cancer 

Near-fatal asthma related to Menstruation

Vitamin D Deficiency and age at Menarche: A Prospective Study

Psychophysical Characteristics of the Premenstrual Period

New Hypotheses - Transvaginal Progesterone: Evidence for a new Functional 'Portal System' Flowing from the Vagina to the Uterus

Effects of Natural Progesterone on the Morphology of the Endometrium in Patients with Primary Ovarian Failure