Living with the cycle
For almost 40 years, the menstrual cycle and its changes accompany a woman on her journey through life. Girls are usually between ten and twelve years old when menstrual bleeding occurs for the first time (menarche). At the time of the last menstrual bleeding (menopause), the age of the women is then around 50 years, so that 40 years of cycle experience lie behind them.
At the beginning of the fertile years, longer and shorter cycles occur frequently. Cycle lengths are relatively stable between the ages of 25 and 39. From the age of 40, a significant cycle shortening sets in, which is caused by an advance of ovulation with stable luteal phases (corpus luteum phase).
For many women, body observation and knowledge of body language during these years help them to better understand the physical changes that occur cycle-dependently and to know when they are fertile so that they can adjust their lifestyle to accommodate their cycle.
Extensive research has deepened our understanding of cycle behaviour at different stages of life:
- during puberty
- in young adulthood
- in the childbearing phase
- during breastfeeding
- during different life events (stress, testing, illness)
- during menopause