Home > Female Fertility > Periods & Menstrual Cycles > Why Do Women Get Periods? 6 Facts About Your Menstrual Cycle

Why Do Women Get Periods? 6 Facts About Your Menstrual Cycle

why women menstruateLearn why women get periods, why menstruation is good for us, and what the “Venus Week” is. These facts about your menstrual cycle are from Dr Rebecca Booth.

First, a quip about women and menstruation from Whoopi Goldberg…

“Whenever women are together for more than two days, they talk about their periods,” says Goldberg.

You’ll have lots more to say if you’re armed with these facts about your menstrual cycle! Dr. Rebecca Booth, author of The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle…at Any Age encourages women to think in positive terms about their periods and hormonal power.

And read on for fascinating facts about your period…

Why Do Women Get Periods?

1. The very first period, known as menarche, heralds the gift of the reproductive cycle, endowing a young woman with the option to someday carry a child. Many cultures (such as native Americans) celebrate this event as a sacred passage. The period is the sloughing off of the uterine lining, the starting point of the cycle of hormones that is responsible for fertility.

2. Regular periods are the best sign of hormone balance.  When my patients feel their hormones are “out of whack”, one of the first questions I ask is if they have regular periods.  Assuming a patient is not pregnant, nursing or in menopause, a regular menstrual cycle indicates that things are working the way Mother Nature intended.

If you’re skipping periods or not menstruating at all, read 8 Natural Ways to Regulate Your Period.

3. A regular period is a sign that you are having a “Venus Week” – the week that follows menstruation and leads up to ovulation.  The hormonal “recipe” that begins shortly after the period starts helps us look and feel our best.  Once my patients understand that their period signals the beginning of a cycle they look forward to the ideal week that follows, and usually notice a significant improvement in how they feel and look on or about day three or four of their period.

4. The least ideal part of the cycle is not your period.   The low point for women hormonally is not their period, but the days that occur just before it.  It is the premenstrual period when women experience a significant drop in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and often report feeling their energy declining (thus PMS).  While most women associate PMS with their hormones it is actually the absence of hormones during this period that leaves them feeling less than ideal.

5. Bloating is reduced during your period.  The period follows a drop in progesterone, a hormone that encourages water retention and slows metabolism. Usually a day or two after the period starts progesterone is low and most women lose water weight and metabolize carbs better.

If your period is unpredictable, read How to Get a Normal Monthly Period.

6. The purpose of the period is a cleansing or sloughing of the old uterine lining to make way for that of the next cycle.  The uterus contracts to gently push this lining out, and the remarkable contraction movements can actually be visualized on a pelvic ultrasound. Painful cramps can result if the uterus is strongly tilted back (retroverted), if the opening (the cervix) is narrow, or if the lining is very thick. The birth control pill causes a temporary thinning of the lining; making the periods less heavy and painful.

If you have problems with your period, read 4 Types of Menstrual Problems.

In her book, The Venus Week, Dr. Booth discusses the way a woman’s hormonal cycle really works and how knowledge can empower women (in and out of the bedroom!).  The Venus Week is the one week of the month when estrogen (the “feel-good hormone”) and testosterone (the “hormone of desire”) are at their peak. 

Are you trying to get pregnant? Fairhaven Health's Hormone Balance Bundle improves egg quality, encourages cycle regularity, and helps your body ovulate regularly.

Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!

Do you have any thoughts about these facts about your period or menstrual cycle? I welcome your comments below…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 thoughts on “Why Do Women Get Periods? 6 Facts About Your Menstrual Cycle”

  1. My priods vry irregular I checkout by doctors then she told for intric sonography.and now I suffered from pcod dr told me my ovarian egg not formed then she give me to tablets glycomat 850 and daines 35 .how I get regular priods and concive baby?

  2. Yes, I’ve read that our monthly period makes us physically healthier and stronger than men. It really is amazing 🙂

    If you’re having problems with your period, please see a gynecologist in person for a check up. It’s impossible to know why you’re not menstruating without a doctor doing an exam!

  3. Plus – this is the reason we live, in average, longer than our male partners. All over the world, all the time, women lived longer. Today, the difference is nearly 5 years! Thank You, Montly Blood! 🙂 Such a blessing.


  5. Hello Erica,

    I’m not sure what you mean by speed up your period…do you mean you want to have a more regular cycle? If you mean you want your period to come this week instead of in 2 weeks (for instance), then no, I don’t think it’s possible.

    Medications can induce periods – and even the Pill can be manipulated so you get your period when you want. But, I don’t think baths or heavy exercise can make your period arrive quicker. In fact, heavy exercise can delay your period – as can any type of stress.

    No, tampons or sex should not affect your period – unless you have an underlying health condition. For instance, if you have endometriosis or fibroids, then the combination of different factors could affect your period. But generally speaking, those feminine hygiene products and intercourse don’t change your period (unless of course you get pregnant!).


  6. Hi:)

    Im not really sure how to ask this, so Im just going to be frank… (Please dont be offended!)

    Ive been trying to find ways so speed up my period. The most common answer I keep running into is 1)taking a bath 2)birth control and 3)heavy excersise… Would any of these work?

    Also, would having sex, or wearing tampons effect my period? (Would it make it go faster since it would be pushing against the walls of lining that comes out?)
    Thanks for your time!

  7. Hi Priya,

    Great avatar! Love it 🙂

    Yes, it’s a fact that stress can affect your period…but I don’t think 5 pints of beer will. Our periods change all the time (for most women), which means they keep us off guard.

    To find out if your PCOS is gone, you need to talk to a doctor. An in-person examination is the only way to know how your ovaries are doing, and why your periods are unpredictable and different than before.

    So, my best advice is to see a doctor in person. I wish I could tell you everything you want to know about your body, but I can’t!


  8. I stopped taking birth control pills a year ago as I had PCOS. Since then regular excercise kept my period almost regular (35 days) But this time its come after 5 weeks and was heavy only on day 1. Day two is like barely there. Im quite scared and concerned. I was stressed this month though and even had 5 pints of beer when i usually dont drink at all. Could that be it? Please advise ! Also, as I have been having regular periods after i stopped medication, does it mean i no longer have PCOD? Thanks a bunch.

  9. I have noticed like it says in fact 3 that during my period my mood is good and I actualy look more attractive to myself and men 🙂

  10. Lorraine — it’s absolutely possible that you’re in perimenopause! You could get a second opinion from another GP….but I don’t know that an “official diagnosis” matters. There aren’t any cures for menopause — there are only different ways to manage the mood swings, headaches, and weight struggles.

    I just wrote an article for alive magazine about menopause and perimenopause — and here are a few exerpts that you may be interested in:

    If you’ve seen no evidence of your period for 12 consecutive months, then you’re officially in menopause. Perimenopause is the period before menopause, and involves hormone-related symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, sleeplessness, and decreased libido.

    “Every woman experiences menopause differently,” says Dr Melinda Ring, Medical Director at the Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness in Illinois. “Some sail through with no problems, while others have debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily activities and quality of life.” Lifestyle, genetics, and hormone metabolism all play a role – and Dr Ring adds that a woman’s view of menopause also affects her experience.

    Signs of menopause can occur from age 35 to 59; some women start noticing changes in their early 30’s. According to Dr Mary Jane Minkin, MD, co-author of A Woman’s Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause, hot flashes and sleeplessness are the two most common symptoms in North American women.

    Mood swings, weight gain, and decreased libido are other symptoms of perimenopause.

    If you like, I can send you the article I wrote on menopause, which includes many solutions for symptoms. The article won’t be out until July 2009 issue of alive, but if you email me lauriekienlen at yahoo.ca and I’ll send it to you. It should help — and it lists a couple of books on menopause, as well.

    Warm regards,

  11. I believe that I am in my perimenopausal state but my GP doesn’t think so. I am almost 46 and for the past couple of years I have noticed a distinct change in my moods. My periods have become regular for the first time in my life, my breasts are overly senstive and painful, I am very moody, tired and suffering painful headaches and I just cannot lose weight.

    I have had my blood tested twice in the past year and each time my GP advises that I am ‘within the normal range’. Is tha normal for all women or normal for me?

    Could it be possible that I am perimenopausal?

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

  12. The day immediately before my period I know that it is coming because I am dog tired. It’s almost like I can barely stay awake as the day progresses. Also, pre-IVF my cycles were irregular, now that I’ve got my hormones in line I’m as regular as they come – very strange.