How many menstrual cycles does a woman have? To answer this question, let’s first understand what menstrual cycle is. Menstrual cycle is natural change that occurs in a woman’s body as a preparation for pregnancy. In this cycle, women experience menstruation that’s followed by the release of an egg.
As it is lasted between 24 until 37 days, the first day is marked by menstruation, whilst the last day is the day before the next menstruation. Therefore, menstruation cycle normally occurs in 28 days. But, it can change throughout a woman’s life. The length of the cycle is basically affected by stress level, illnesses, extreme emotions, diet foods, fertility, and so on. There are four different phases in the menstrual cycle: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
Getting to Know How Many Menstrual Cycles Does a Woman Have?
- Menstruation phase
Menstruation is a monthly bleeding experienced by a woman. Menstrual blood flows from uterus to vagina. It usually occurs for 3 until 5 days, but it can be more or less than that. If a woman gets period more than two weeks, she should see a doctor. Menstrual fluid contains of endometrial cells, cervical mucus, and vaginal secretions. The total fluid that a woman loses every time she gets period is 50 until 100 ml of fluid. In the menstruation phase, a woman’s mood is usually unstable. She can be very emotional as the impact of hormonal changes. This phase is also marked by a severe cramp. That’s why there are many medicines available to calm down the cramp for women who get menstruation.
- Follicular phase
The follicular phase is actually the second phase of this cycle. In this phase, women’s ovaries constantly ripen numbers of follicles to produce hormone estrogen. This leads to the thickness of endometrium, so it can be ready for possible embedding of a fertilized egg. Normally, the follicles developed in the ovary are between 10 and 20 follicles. However, the number changes with each cycle. Among these immature eggs, usually only one follicle can develop into a mature egg. This phase starts on the first day of menstruation and it ends when the ovulation phase begins.
- Ovulation phase
Ovulation begins when the mature egg releases from the ovary. To know that a woman’s body is experiencing this process is by counting back 14 days in the menstrual cycle which is marked by the first day of menstruation. That’s called as the fertile time. Usually, a woman is fertile for about 24 until 48 hours during the ovulation phase. In this phase, the level of hormone progesterone is high unless the egg is unfertilized. The egg released is reabsorbed by the body. In this case, the progesterone level falls until day 28. When it has reached the lowest level, a woman will experience menstruation. So, the cycle is repeated again.
- Luteal phase
Unless there’s fertilization, this phase can be called as pre-menstruation phase. When a woman has reached luteal phase, it means that she’s about to get menstruation. However, if fertilization has occurred, the estrogen level will fall while the progesterone level continues to rise up. Thus, the dominant mature egg will release from the follicle and move to the uterus. Well, this can lead to a pregnancy. In luteal phase, women generally experience both physical and emotional changes such as lumpy breasts, bloating, mood swings and others called as premenstrual syndrome. Regarding to the question of how many menstrual cycles does a woman have, Luteal phase is the last stage every woman experiences during the menstrual cycle.
Therefore, after reading the explanation above, we all know that there are actually four different stages in a menstrual cycle that every woman experiences. When fertilization occurs between the phase and the woman gets pregnant, the cycle will temporarily stop as the body keeps producing hormone estrogen and progesterone to support the development of the embryo. The cycle repeats after the woman has given a birth and starts getting menstruation again.
However, the length of time of a woman getting period again depends on whether she breastfeeds her child or not. That is because the hormone stimulating the production of milk inhibits menstruation and ovulation phase. It explains why women giving breastfeeding do not get menstruation anymore until she has fully stopped it. She will be experiencing the menstrual phase again right after the breastfeeding program, depending on the frequency and duration of it in a day.
When the woman decides to not breastfeed her child or supports the breastfeeding with the bottle milk, she can quickly return to the menstrual cycle for about five until six weeks after the childbirth. Regarding to how many menstrual cycles does a woman have, it is impossible to get pregnant again when she is fertile although the baby is still an infant. In addition, if you are not returning from the menstrual cycle after giving birth, it does not prevent from the next pregnancy. In this case, contraception might still be needed.
Meanwhile, women in the late 40s or 50s may experience irregular period or menopause. When menopause happens, a woman doesn’t experience the regular menstrual cycle anymore. Although it is different for every woman, the irregular period is usually affected by stress level, hormonal imbalance, illness, and even some extreme physical activities.
Menopause, although it is called as the end of periods, it’s still possible that a woman gets menstruation in this stage. However, her body no longer experiences the ovulation phase anymore. However, it is somehow still possible to get pregnant even though a woman has passed this stage. That’s why she can still expect a baby in the menopause stage.
To avoid getting pregnant, however, contraception is needed. So, how many menstrual cycles does a woman have when she has reached the menopause stage? The answer is varied, depending on the woman’s body. If she doesn’t pass the ovulation phase, the answer is three. Meanwhile, if she still experiences ovulation, the answer is still four.