Why Women’s Menstruation Is a Mystery

If the human body is a mystery, women’s body is a black hole—and perhaps we know more about mars than about women’s body. Menstruation is a fine example, a popular biological process in the female’s body.

Humans are one of the rare species that menstruate. Even those species that menstruate, the process is not as painful. For a majority of women, their normal life is restricted for a week or so in a month. However, scientists’ have feeble idea about the exact cause of menstruation.

“There’s so much we don’t understand about why this repeated event of shedding and repair happens,” said Dr. Hilary Critchley, reproductive health researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

She, with her team of researchers, found out that heavy bleeding during menstruation also entails certain conditions such as the presence of uterine fibroid (non cancerous growths.

The mystery surrounding menstruation

Scientists are unsure– whether it’s caused by the lining on the uterus or the mechanisms that controls the bleeding. They are also not sure about whether the reason for heavy bleeding is same in every woman.


Another less known fact is the inflammation response in the endometrium—which is a complicated yet a clever process. There are specialized chemical signals that bring in white blood cells, and then the breakdown of the tissue starts.


What is more interesting is that in species that don’t menstruate, the fall of the progesterone level does not initiate the same response (which is believed as a major reason behind menstruation in the female’s body). The reason behind such differences is unclear.

Scientists are trying to find out whether other chemical signals are needed along with the fall of progesterone level to trigger menstruation. They are also looking to find out some potential drug to reduce heavy bleeding.
Earlier theories

Menstruation was initially supposed as process through which the women’s body ejaculated toxins from the body—which has been proved wrong. BBC Future, in a report has given an interesting account of such theories.

Margie Profet, at the University of California Berkeley, suggested in 1993 that it’s a function that defends against the pathogens transported to womb by sperm.

The idea generated lot of hype as it said that –it is men’s who are dirty. Most of these theories have been debunked due to the lack of evidence and modern theories are being propounded. One of the surprising facts is that it’s bats and not apes or apes whose menstrual process resembles with women’s.


Chief Content Strategist

An active journalist and blogger with more than a decade of experience. He has worked with various national and international publications. Sharing behind the curtain news is his passion.

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