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What determines length of actual period?

  hi.  Quick questions...what determines the length of the menstrual period?  Why, on some months, is it "light?" only to be heavy the next couple months and vice versa.  Thanks!  Marianne
Dear Marianne:
The length of a menstrual cycle is normally determined by ovulation. In women who do not ovulate, the length of the cycle is determined by the amount of endometrium (uterine lining) and the level of hormone available to keep the lining from breaking away.
Menstruation is the shedding of the endometrial lining. As the shedding occurs, small amounts of bleeding result as the tissue detaches andthe surface heals. Another way of looking at it is that the bleeding is the "wash" the carries away the "old lining". The amount of menstruation is determined by the amount of lining and the amount of bleeding. Just as the amount of moisture in the mouth varies from day to day, the amount of urine varies from voiding to voiding, the pulse rate varies from hour to hour, and many other variations in our physiology, menstrual amount is not the same month to month.

Keyword: menstruation.
This material is provided for information purposes only and is not a medical consultation. If your have specific questions, please contact your physician.

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