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A menstrual period is vaginal bleeding that occurs at the end of the menstrual cycle. Each month, the body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy. The uterus develops a thicker lining, and the ovaries release an egg that can be fertilized by sperm.

“During that cycle, pregnancies won’t occur if the egg isn’t fertilized. The body sheds its uterus. The result is menstruation.”

Most people with a uterus will have their first period between ages 11 and 14. Periods will continue regularly (usually monthly) until menopause, or about age 51.

There are facts and statistics about menstruation.

The average menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days. The typical period lasts 4 to 8 days.

Your cycle is normal if you have monthly or regular periods. Your body is working to prepare for a baby.

In addition to bleeding, 90 percent of people who menstruate say they experience various symptoms. Food cravings are one common symptom. In fact, a 2017 study found that almost half of American women crave chocolate at the start of their period.

Breast tenderness is another common period symptom. It can peak in the days just before menstruation starts. A surge in the hormones estrogen and progesterone leads to enlarged breast ducts and swollen milk glands. The result is soreness and swelling.

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Meanwhile, period pain (also called dysmenorrhea) is another common symptom. More than half of menstruating people experience some pain around their period.

Prostaglandins are the cause of this pain. These are chemicals that trigger muscle contractions in your uterus. These hormones help the body shed the excess uterine lining, which can cause pain and It is a symptom of cramping. in the first days of your period.

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Some people don’t have regular periods. Intense exercise or certain medical conditions can lead to irregular periods. Irregular periods can also occur in people who are:

Moreover, a 2012 study found 32 to 40 percent of people who have periods report their pain is so severe that they have to miss work or school.

The most common period-related health conditions include:


Endometriosis causes tissue that’s similar to the lining of the uterus to grow in other parts of your body. This can lead to:

  • There is severe pain.
  • It is a symptom of cramping.
  • Heavy periods.

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 49, estimates the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The ACOG notes that 30 to 50 percent of people with the disorder will experience infertility.

Uterine fibroid

These noncancerous tumors develop between the layers of tissue in your uterus. Many people with a uterus will develop at least one fibroid during their lifetime.


Menorrhagia is very heavy menstrual bleeding. Typical periods produce 2 to 3 tablespoons of menstrual blood. People with menorrhagia can produce more than twice that amount.

More than 10 million American women have this condition, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


“Premenstrual syndrome is a series of symptoms that occur 1 to 2 weeks before a woman’s period. Symptoms can include:”

  • There is a throbbing head.
  • fatigue
  • It was bloated.
  • “Is it possible that I’m Irrisponsible?”

PMS affects as many as 3 in 4 women, according to


Premenstrual Dysphoric disorder is more severe than premenstrual syndrome.

It can cause something.

  • Depression.
  • There is tension.
  • Mood shifts are severe.
  • lasting anger or “Is it possible that I’m Irrisponsible?”

Experts estimate about 5 percent of women experience PMDD.

Poor menstrual hygiene

Your period is a health concern as well as a poor menstrual hygiene concern. Blood and tissue loss can cause problems.

“If basic Sanitation utilities aren’t accessible, this can pose a serious health issue.”

Each year in the United States, people spend upward of $2 billion on menstrual products. In their lifetime, the average menstruating person uses almost 17,000 tampons or pads.

This is a personal cost to the individual and an environmental cost to the planet. Many of these products are not easy to degrade in the garbage.

However, more than 16.9 million American women live in poverty and may not have access to menstrual products and medications that treat symptoms. There are also reports suggesting people in jail or prison often don’t have access to tampons or pads. These necessary products may be used as bargaining chips and traded for food or favor.

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In the United States, sales tax is frequently imposed on menstrual products. Currently, five states don’t charge sales tax:

  • Alaska.
  • Delaware.
  • Montana is located in the state of Montana.
  • New Hampshire is located in the United States.
  • Oregon.

The products have been exempt from thetampon tax in 21 states.

  • California.
  • Connecticut.
  • Florida.
  • Iowa.
  • Illinois.
  • Louisiana.
  • Maine.
  • Maryland.
  • Massachusetts.
  • Michigan.
  • Minnesota is located in the state of Minnesota.
  • Nebraska is located in the United States.
  • Nevada is located in Nevada.
  • New Jersey is located in the United States.
  • New Mexico is located in the United States.
  • New York.
  • Ohio.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Rhode Island is located in the United States.
  • Vermont.
  • Washington.

Lawmakers from other states have introduced measures to remove taxes on these products.

Access to menstrual products can be complicated elsewhere, as well. In Kenya, for example, half of all school-age women don’t have access to menstrual pads. Many also don’t have access to toilets and clean water. That frequently leads to missed school days, and some drop out of school entirely.

The stigma surrounding menstruation dates back centuries. References to menstruation are found in the Bible, Quran, and Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History.”

In these references, menstruation is referred to as “un clean” and “harm”, and can turn “new wine sour.”

The stigma that surrounds periods did not go away despite decades of faulty research.

In 1920, Dr. Béla Schick coined the phrase “menotoxin” for a theory he had that women produce toxins during menstruation.

“Schick reached this conclusion after a nurse handled flowers. The flowers that the nurse didn’t touch were the ones that wilted sooner. He decided that her period was the cause.”

In the 1950s, researchers injected menstrual blood in animals to test the toxic theory. The blood did, in fact, kill the animals. But it was proven years later that the death was a result of bacterial contamination in the blood, not a toxic effect.

By 1974, researchers had identified that menstruation taboos may be closely tied to how men participate in procreative activities. In other words, the less men are involved with childbirth and childrearing, the more distasteful a period is to them.

Period hygiene has changed over time.

In 1897, Lister’s Towels were introduced by Johnson & Johnson as the first mass-produced and disposable menstrual pad. These were far from the period pads of today. They were thick pads of material worn inside undergarments.

The Hoosier Ladies’ Sanitary Belt came a few decades after the turn of the century. The belt was a series of straps meant to hold reusable sanitary pads in place.

A few short years later, in 1929, Dr. Earle Haas invented the first tampon. His idea came from a friend who mentioned using a sea sponge tucked into her vagina as a way to absorb period blood.

The first sticky pads were introduced in the 1980s. They have been updated to meet changing lifestyle, flow and shape needs.

Period products aim to solve many of the issues menstruating individuals have dealt with for decades, from leaks and period tracking to cost. They are helping to remove the stigma surrounding menstruation. They want to solve environmental and financial concerns.

These products include menstrual cups and underwear. There are many apps on the phone that can help people understand how their body prepares for their period.

There is still much work to be done to remove the stigma of menstruation and to help people care for themselves during their period.

In Britain, a 2017 survey from Plan International reported that 1 in 7 girls say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual protection. More than 1 in 10 girls have had to improvise menstrual wear because they couldn’t afford proper products.

Though the United Kingdom was set to drop taxes on tampons and other menstrual products, Brexit talks had stalled the final removal of the levy. The tampon tax was finally eliminated in 2021 in the UK.

In Nepal, a 21-year-old woman died from smoke inhalation after she lit a fire to keep warm during “chhaupadi.”

Hindu girls and women are forced to sleep in huts or cattle sheds until their period ends, in Nepalese practices. The huts may not be insulated enough to provide adequate warmth during the winter, when temperatures can fall into the single digits.

In parts of India, some women are forced to isolate themselves in much the same way.

“Some cultures don’t shun menstruating individuals because of the natural cycle.”

In some places in Africa, the onset of menstruation is viewed as a passage from one phase of life to the next. It’s a vaulted and valued experience. Specific huts or homes are set aside for women to stay in when they have their first period. They’re joined by their female family members and other women during this time.

Meanwhile, countries like Canada, which dropped taxes on tampons and other menstrual products in 2015, are looking to ease the financial concerns of getting a period.

In 2018, the United Nations (UN) reported that the shame, stigma, and misinformation that surround periods can lead to serious health and human rights concerns. That’s why they declared menstrual hygiene an issue that affects public health, gender equality, and human rights.

It’s also why the UN has added it to the 2030 Agenda. This is a 15-year plan for sustainable social and economic development that creators believe can help end poverty, hunger, and lack of access to healthcare.