10 surprising facts about the menstrual cycle
Nature is full of surprises.
1. On average, women spend over six years of their lifetime on their period https://www.typology.com/blogs/conseils/comprendre-la-raison-physiologique-des-regles.
5 days x 12 months x 38 years (from first period to menopause) = 2280 days = 6.3 years on average.
2. **Female eggs are the largest human cell.
**With a diameter of about 150 microns, which is close to that of a grain of sand, female eggs are actually visible to the naked eye! Also, an egg is about 30x larger than a sperm cell.
3. Unlike men who produce sperm all their lives, women build up a limited stock of follicles (egg factories) even before birth.
This reserve becomes depleted over the years. This decrease begins accelerating around the age of 35. When the supply is depleted, it is menopause. This phenomenon is associated with fertility.
4. Some countries have taken special measures in their laws: menstrual leave, offering women a few days per month of rest during menstruation.
Asia is the leader in these measures, with Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea having already declared the right for menstrual leave. In practice, however, few people actually use this leave.
5. In the period before ovulation, the skin is naturally more radiant.
The face appears more symmetrical, the skin looks more beautiful, the voice is softer, and body odour is more attractive as the fertile period approaches.
6. Only 200 years ago, the average age of a woman's first period was 16.
Today in France, first periods occur on average at 12 and a half years old. Scientists are trying to correlate certain environmental factors with the age of first period.
7. **The etymology of the term "menstruation" derives from the Latin "mensis", or lunar month.
**In Greek, mene means "moon". With that in mind, we can assume that the ancients believed in a connection between the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle, which lasts an average of 29 and 28 days respectively. These cyclical observations could even be at the origin of the concept of time measurement.
8. The hypothesis that women living in the same communities synchronize their menstrual cycles is still debated in the scientific community.
This phenomenon, also known as the McClintock Effect, has been proven by some studies and disproven by others.
It's possible that this belief stems from the fact that 2 people have a 32% chance of having at least one day of menstrual bleeding in common.
9. **On earth, humans share the process of menstruation with only a few other animal species: great apes, bats, elephants, and a family of small, long-nosed mammals.
**This phenomenon is to be differentiated from the bleeding that occurs in other mammals such as dogs.
10. **Depending on the week of the menstrual cycle, the appearance of the skin differs.
**The skin undergoes changes under the influence of female hormones - estrogen and progesterone - which fluctuate throughout the cycle.
See our article on the impact of hormones on the skin.
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