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What is menstruation? Menstruation - having periods - is part of the female reproductive cycle that starts when girls become sexually mature at the time of puberty.

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What is menstruation?

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What is menstruation?

Menstruation - having periods - is part of the female reproductive cycle that starts when girls become sexually mature at the time of puberty.

During a menstrual period, a woman bleeds from her uterus (womb) via the vagina. This lasts anything from three to seven days. Each period commences approximately every 28 days if the woman does not become pregnant during a given cycle.

Why do women menstruate?

Menstruation is a very complicated process involving many

  • different hormones,
    • Female hormones - Estrogen and Progesterone
  • the woman's sex organs
  • and the brain.

A woman's internal sex organs consist of

    • two ovaries,
    • the Fallopian tubes,
    • the uterus (womb)
    • and the vagina
During each period, a single egg will usually ripen and mature due to the action of hormones circulating in the bloodstream.
  • When the egg is mature it bursts from the ovary and drifts through the Fallopian tube down into the uterus.
  • The lining of the uterus - the endometrium - has been thickened by the action of hormones and made ready to receive the fertilised egg
If the egg is fertilized and the woman becomes pregnant, it will fasten itself onto the endometrium. If the egg is not fertilized, however, resultant hormonal changes cause the endometrium to slip away and menstruation begins.
  • Menstrual discharge is composed of the endometrium itself, together with a little fresh blood caused by the breaking of very fine blood vessels within the endometrium as it detaches itself from the inside of the uterus.

A week before and a week after the approximate day of ovulation is considered to be Fertile period.

fast facts
  • The amount of blood lost due to the normal monthly period is usually less than 80ml.
  • You are born with all the eggs you'll ever have! (about 500)
  • A woman will have approximately 500 periods in her lifetime.

When you were a 20-week-old female fetus (still in your mother's uterus) you had approximately 7 million eggs.

At birth, the number decreased to about 2 million.

By the time you enter puberty, you have between 300,000 and 500,000 eggs. Only between 400 and 500 will ripen into mature eggs during your life.

  • The word "menstruation" comes from menses, the Latin word for "month."
wet dreams
Wet Dreams

Chances are that you had a "wet dream" — something that can be embarrassing and confusing to teen guys, but is completely normal. A wet dream is also known as a nocturnal emission. Nocturnal means "at night" and emission means "discharge."

This makes sense because a wet dream is when semen (the fluid containing sperm) is discharged from the penis during ejaculation while a guy's asleep.

Usually wet dreams occur during dreams that have sexual images. Sometimes guys wake up from a wet dream, but sometimes they sleep through it.

Wet dreams begin during puberty when the body starts making more testosterone, the major male hormone. Although some guys may feel embarrassed or even guilty about having wet dreams, they can't be controlled and you can't stop them from happening — most guys experience them at some point during puberty and even sometimes as adults.
why do they occur
Why do they occur?
  • Some believe that nocturnal emissions occur because of an actual sexual dream and the process of becoming aroused by the dream. For instance, while a guy is asleep his body responds as if he was actually experiencing what he was dreaming of.
  • Another theory is that wet dreams are a way the body gets rid of "built-up" semen, and that "built-up" semen are due to a lack of masturbation. Yet, many doctors dispute this theory.
  • Testosterone-based drugs may be another factor in the occurrence of wet dreams. Studies have indicated that men who take testosterone-based drugs experience more wet dreams than the average male.
how often does it happen
How often does it happen?
  • There's no average number--some can have wet dreams once every two months, or more rarely, once every two days. There are some people who have never had a nocturnal emission at all. One interesting thing to note is that a person who sleeps in is more likely to have a wet dream than someone who wakes up early because the extra hours lead to more REM sleep. So, based on this, wet dreams are more likely to happen on the weekend than during the typical school week.
What Is an Erection?
  • An erection is a hardening of the penis that occurs when sponge-like tissue inside the penis fills up with blood. Usually, an erection causes the penis to enlarge and stand away from the body.
  • Erections can go away on their own or after ejaculation, the release of semen through the urethra, the small hole

at the tip of the penis.

  • Sometimes guys ejaculate at night while sleeping (these are called nocturnal emissions or wet dreams). Guys may have several erections and arousal periods while in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, the type of sleep in which most dreams occur.
What Causes Erections?
  • Although many erections are caused by sexual arousal, such as watching a sexy television show or fantasizing, many erections seem to happen for no particular reason.
  • So if you've had an erection in an odd or embarrassing situation — like right in the middle of a really boring history lesson — there's no reason to worry that something is wrong with you. Your body is just acting naturally for a guy your age.
Am I Getting Too Many Erections?
  • Because each guy is different, it's impossible to say what's a "normal" number of erections. Some guys experience many erections each day, whereas others may not experience any.
  • Hormones fluctuate with age, sexual maturity, level of activity, and even the amount of sleep a guy gets. Unless your erections are causing you discomfort or pain, don't worry about how many you get.
  • If you're concerned, talk to your doctor, who can answer your questions and probably put your mind at ease.
What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Erections?
  • Because erections usually aren't controllable, there's not much you can do to avoid getting them. Unless the penis is stimulated enough to ejaculate, time is the only thing that will help them go away.
  • As your hormones settle down and you advance through puberty, the frequency of unexpected erections and wet dreams should decrease.