Definition - What does Menses mean?

Menses is the flow of blood and cellular tissue that exits the vagina when the uterine lining is shed during menstruation.

Though the words are often used interchangeably, menses can differ from menstruation by referring to the flow of blood that occurs when the endometrial lining is shed from the uterus, while menstruation refers to the time when this shedding occurs.

Menses may also be known as a period.

FertilitySmarts explains Menses

The menstrual cycle includes the reoccurring changes needed for women to become pregnant. When not pregnant, menses typically occurs every four weeks from menarche (the onset of menstruation) to menopause (the end of menstruation.) The menstrual cycle has three phases:

  1. Follicular phase - menstruation and development of new follicles
  2. Ovulatory phase - release of egg from a dominant follicle
  3. Luteal phase - build up of the uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg

Menses occurs during the follicular phase when low estrogen and progesterone levels cause the lining of the endometrium to break down and are shed through menstrual bleeding.

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