Getting to know your flow
Learn the basics of your menstrual cycle and how to find the right period products for you.
Whether your mother explained it to you or you learned about it in grade school, your reproductive system is amazingly complex and deserves a quick recap.
Getting to know your body better and understanding your flow will help you better treat your own symptoms, become more aware of your own fertility and promote your sexual health.
What is menstruation?
Day one of your menstrual cycle starts with your period (menstruation), or the official first day of bleeding. Your period plays an important role in your menstrual cycle every month by shedding your uterine lining to make room for a new ovulation cycle.
Back to Basics
You are born with two ovaries that holds approximately 1-2 million eggs, but by puberty only 300,000 eggs remain. Of these, only 500 will be released during a your reproductive lifetime (one egg per cycle)!
- During the menstrual cycle, reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone make your eggs mature. When they’ve matured, the eggs are released into your uterus (ovulation) as the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) thickens to prepare itself for pregnancy, or when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the walls of the uterus.
- If pregnancy is not achieved during ovulation, the uterus walls are shed, resulting in menstruation.
Why do women menstruate?
The main reason is that we menstruate to prepare the uterus for the next ovulation -think of like pressing the ‘refresh’ button on the womb! Shedding the lining of the uterus and the unfertilized egg along starts a process of priming the uterus for conception all over again.
How long does it last?
On average, the whole menstrual cycle lasts about 28-35 days long and can range even more depending on the individual, age and the month. Ovulation occurs around day 14 on average with the first day of your period as day 1. During ovulation, the egg leaves the ovary and moves towards your uterus where it waits to be fertilized for about 24 hours before dissolving. Periods, however, tend to be around 3-8 days long and only occur if the egg is not fertilized.
Comparing menstrual products
There are a number of different period products to choose from and choosing your favorites is just a matter of time, although it’s always good to know what kind of options you have. Here are some of the most popular options with some of their biggest pros and cons:
- Good for night time use
- Safe and poses very little health risk
- Not the most comfortable choice
- Good for use during sports or while swimming
- Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome
- Must be removed or changed every 4 - 8 hours
- Eco friendly, less plastic waste
- Economical - one cup will last you for years
- Chance of leakage if not inserted correctly
- Can be worn up to 12 hours
- Good to wear overnight
- Easy to use and low waste
- Have to wash them instead of dispose of them