What is the menstrual cycle?

A woman becomes capable of reproduction during puberty and then loses this capacity in her early fifties. However, even in her fertile years she can conceive only during a certain time once a month when one of her ovaries releases an egg. The monthly recurrence of this event, together with other regular body changes, constitute the female reproductive cycle. Its most obvious external sign is menstruation (monthly bleeding). For this reason, the reproductive cycle may also be called menstrual cycle. Indeed, this latter term has the advantage of referring to a concrete experience which is familiar to practically all women, including those who do not reproduce.

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