Encyclopedia of Exercise Medicine in Health and Disease

2012 Edition
| Editors: Frank C. Mooren

Menstrual Cycle

  • Nancy I. WilliamsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29807-6_129



The recurring monthly physiological changes in women and other female primates in which an egg is produced and released in the process known as ovulation, and the uterine lining thickens and differentiates to allow for implantation if fertilization occurs. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus breaks down and is discharged during menstruation [1].


The female reproductive system exhibits cyclic changes in reproductive hormones, as well as in gonadal and uterine processes (Fig.  1). These cyclic changes represent periodic preparations for fertilization and possible pregnancy. Menstrual cycle changes are tightly coordinated by the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, and the ovaries (Fig.  2). The most obvious event in the menstrual cycle is the occurrence of regular external vaginal bleeding, i.e., menses, apparent in humans and in many nonhuman primate species. The usual duration of menses is from 3 to 5 days,...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyPenn State University 108 Noll LaboratoryUniversity ParkUSA