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the periodic discharge from the vagina of blood and tissues from a nonpregnant uterus; the culmination of the menstrual cycle. Menstruation occurs every 28 days or so between puberty and menopause, except during pregnancy, and the flow lasts about 5 days, the times varying from woman to woman.
Menstrual Difficulties. Some menstrual discomfort is common, but acute discomfort is usually indicative of some disorder. Among the disorders sometimes causing dysmenorrhea are leiomyoma uteri, endometrial cysts, and displacement of the uterus. Menstrual pain may in some cases be related to tension or anxiety. Excessive bleeding or prolonged periods (hypermenorrhea) are sometimes an indication of tumors, polyps, cancer, or inflammation.

Menstruation usually starts between the ages of 11 and 14 and continues into the forties or fifties. At first the periods may be irregular, but once they are established they usually occur in a fairly definite rhythm, at intervals of 21 to 35 days. In these regular cycles, there may be monthly variations of a few days, which are considered normal. Cycle length may be influenced by changes in climate or living conditions, or by emotional factors. Slight irregularities, especially if they occur over a period of time, may be warnings of disturbance of either the thyroid or pituitary glands, or of tumors of the uterus or ovaries.

Occasionally menstruation does not occur at puberty; this is known as primary amenorrhea. It may be caused by underdevelopment or malformation of the reproductive organs, or by glandular disturbances, which generally can be corrected by the administration of hormones.

General ill health, a change in climate or living conditions, emotional shock, or, frequently, either the hope or fear of becoming pregnant can sometimes stop menstruation after it has begun (secondary amenorrhea). If this cessation is of short duration, it is not a cause for alarm. If it continues over a long period of time, and there is also the problem of infertility, hormone treatments may be necessary.
anovular menstruation (anovulatory menstruation) periodic uterine bleeding without preceding ovulation.
vicarious menstruation bleeding from extragenital mucous membrane at the time one would normally expect the menstrual period.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(men-strū-ā'shŭn), Avoid the misspellings and mispronunciations menestration, menstration, and other variants.
Cyclic endometrial shedding and discharge of a bloody fluid from the uterus during the menstrual cycle of humans and primates.
[see menstruate]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


The monthly flow of blood and cellular debris from the uterus that begins at puberty in women and the females of certain other primates. In women, menstruation ceases at menopause. Also called catamenia, menses.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
The normal discharge of blood and tissue from the endometrium via cervix/vagina (or the process itself) from the uterus at the end of a menstrual cycle, which usually occurs at ± 4 week intervals, ± 2 weeks after ovulation
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Menorrhea The discharge of blood and tissue or the process itself from the uterus at the end of a menstrual cycle, occurring at ±4 wk intervals, ±2 wks after ovulation. See Vicarious menstruation. Cf Amenorrhea.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Cyclic endometrial shedding and discharge of a bloody fluid from the uterus during the menstrual cycle.
See: menstruate
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


The periodic shedding of the lining (ENDOMETRIUM) of the womb (uterus) at intervals of about 28 days causing bleeding through the vagina of 3 to 7 days duration in the non-pregnant female. The purpose of menstruation is to renew the endometrium so that it is in a suitable state to ensure implantation of a fertilized egg (ovum).
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005

Patient discussion about menstruation

Q. preventing pre menstrual MIGRAINES. Has anyone come up with any good preventive medicine for migraines? Mine come systematically right before and during the menstrual cycle. My (male) neurolight in Paris didn't seem to see a linkk with migraines and my cycle - or offer any preventive advice. I take Relpax to relieve. Does anyone have a more natural or preventive solution?

A. I have the same problem and take Topomax to prevent the migrains. Also make sure you get enough rest right before you start. There seems to be a correlation. It took about 2 months to fully work but at least the first migrain after I started taking Topomax wasn't as severe.

Q. can you get poly-cystic ovarian syndrome when you still have your menstrual cycle?

A. polycystic ovarian syndrome is when the egg does not come out- so i guess there is no menstrual that month. but as far as i know it's not every month that an egg decides to stay at home after 18... i guess you can check up more exact at this site:

Q. is it normal to get a nausous feeling around the time i would start my menstrual cycle?

A. Yes, it is absolutely normal to feel nausea before and during menstrual cycle. The shift in hormonal levels can cause also headaches, mood changes, feeling of bloating and other common symptoms.

More discussions about menstruation
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References in periodicals archive ?
It significantly reduces menstrual blood flow starting from the first month itself and effect lasts even after 3 months of follow-up.
The influence of the Gyne-T 380S IUD on menstrual blood loss and iron status.
Pictorial blood loss assessment chart (PBAC) was used to measure the menstrual blood loss (MBL).
She writes that, "scientists believe tampons are the perfect host for the bacteria because they absorb menstrual blood and provide a good surface for the bacteria to colonize." Deaths and disabilities caused by TSS led to a requirement that manufacturers standardize the absorbency of tampons.
In contrast, early scientists associated fluidity with women and their menstrual blood and vaginal secretions.
Positive attitudes toward breast milk are particularly striking when we contrast them with the negative connotations given to menstrual blood in early modern Anglo-American culture, for as fungibles they came from the same source.
In the presence of adequate hydration, this decrease was likely due to combined blood loss from her minimal hematemesis, numerous blood tests, normal menstrual blood flow, and increased uterine bleeding caused by the TPA.
Clinical response was defined as menstrual blood loss volume of less than 80 mL during month six and a 50 percent or greater reduction in menstrual blood loss volume from baseline to month six.
Pasquale Florio and his associates at the University of Siena (Italy) suggested that cesarean section--induced isthmoceles may interfere with passage of menstrual blood through the cervix, and the accumulated fluid may lead to suprapubic pelvic pain and post-menstrual abnormal uterine bleeding (Curt.
Kuala Lumpur, August 29 (ANI): A domestic maid in China boiled soup with her menstrual blood and served it to her employer three times, because she was angry for not being allowed to use the telephone.