Menstruation And Fertility

Fluctuations in a woman's menstrual cycle can have a great deal of impact on a woman's chances for conception. The experts say that if the menstrual cycle becomes irregular as a woman ages, this signifies that her fertility is on a downward spiral.

Fertility Marker

The length of the menstrual cycle is a marker for a woman's fertility which is independent of age. However, the menstrual cycle does tend to become shorter as a woman ages and in such a case, the shorter cycles are a sign of decreasing fertility.

The menstrual cycle consists of a series of changes that a woman's body requires for the purposes of preparing for conception. Each month, the uterus produces a new lining (endometrium) in preparation for supporting a fertilized egg. If the egg fails to be fertilized, the endometrium is shed by way of menstruation. This cycle begins during the early teens and continues until a woman reaches menopause at about age 50.

Each menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstrual flow, which is designated as day 1 of the cycle. The entire cycle runs from day 1 to the next day 1, or the day on which the next menstrual period begins. While the average cycle lasts 28 days, this cycle length is by no means applicable to all women. A period is said to be normal in length at anywhere from 21 days to 35 days. In teens, a cycle lasting 45 days is still considered normal.

It is usual for girls to begin having their periods from the age of 11 until the age of 14. Women begin to have fewer menstrual periods between the ages of 39 and 51.  A woman in her 40's or a teen just beginning to menstruate may have longer cycles or irregular cycles that change from month to month. While a teenager's periods will with time become regular, a woman nearing menopause will have her periods farther and farther apart until they stop altogether.

The menstrual cycle is ruled by hormones. At each cycle, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands send and receive signals from a woman's ovaries. These signals are meant to prepare the ovaries and the womb for a potential pregnancy.

Fluctuating Hormones

Fluctuations in hormone levels can have an impact on a woman's menstrual cycle or on her fertility. This phenomenon is more pronounced in teens and for the woman who is close to menopause as a result of changes in progesterone levels. There may be other factors that change a woman's cycle, for instance, low body fat, sudden weight loss, birth control pills, being too heavy, stress, and extreme physical activity. These changes do reflect on a woman's chances for conception. As the menstrual cycle becomes shorter in response to age, a woman's odds of getting pregnant will decrease.

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