Menstrual cycle

If you are a teenage girl, you have probably started having a period already. If you are still waiting for your first menstrual bleeding, you might be anxious about this topic and want to know more about it. Menstrual cycle is quite a complex physiological process in a woman’s body but it is very interesting and important for you to understand.

Menstrual cycle

What is a menstrual cycle? It is a periodic cycle of certain physiological changes in women’s body. Menstrual cycle is closely associated with female fertility. Reproductive hormones, such as estradiol (estrogen), progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, are responsible for recurring changes during this cycle.

Menarche is the first period in a woman’s life. The age of menarche depends on diet, genetics, environment and health status. The average age for the first menstrual bleeding is 12 years worldwide. However, this age ranges from 8 to 16 and is considered normal. Menstrual cycle continues during the whole woman’s reproductive life, the end of which is called menopause , and most commonly starts at the age of 51 years. This is when the menstrual cycle stops occurring and a woman cannot get pregnant anymore.

The length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is very individual – it can be shorter or longer. Normally, less than eight days between the longest cycle and shortest one are allowed to consider the menstrual cycle as normal.

Girls, who have their menstrual cycle for the first time in their life, should learn how to count their cycle. You should start your cycle from the first day of menstrual bleeding. Menstrual cycle is divided into several phases, which differ in physiology and hormones that regulate menstrual cycle.

Menstruation phase

First phase is menstruation. Normally it lasts from 3 to 5 days (but 2-7 days duration is also normal). During this time a woman experiences uterine bleeding of about 35 milliliters and therefore, may require more iron in her diet to avoid iron deficiency. Uterine cramps are also very common during period, and might require the use of some medications to soothe them.

Follicular phase

After menstrual phase is over, follicular or proliferative phase starts under control of the rising follicular-stimulating hormone on the 5th day through 13th day of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, the amount of estrogen increases and, therefore, uterine lining becomes thicker. In addition, due to the action of the follicle-stimulating hormone follicles begins to develop in the ovary, until there is only one of them, called the dominant, left. This dominant follicle continues to grow and soon is able to ovulate, meaning to leave the ovary.

Ovulation phase

Ovulation is the next phase of the menstrual cycle and it is when a mature ovum is released from the ovary to the abdominal cavity. This is due the action of estradiol, which triggers the luteinizing hormone that helps an egg to become mature and weakens the membrane of the follicle, so that a mature ovum could be released. Fallopian tubes must catch this released egg and bring it to the site of fertilization. If a woman has sexual intercourse during ovulation or a few days before or after it, then sperm is able to join the egg, and a woman becomes pregnant. If sperm is not present at the time of ovulation, an egg will not get fertilized and eventually it will dissolve in the uterus.&

During the phase of ovulation, this usually occurs on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle , a woman experiences changes in vaginal discharge, which then becomes profuse, stringy and clear in color. Also, some women may experience a dull pain at the lower part of the abdomen, lasting for a few hours. In addition, some women may have a light mid-cycle bleeding. Scientists say, that at the time of ovulation women have a greater smell ability.

Luteal phase

After the ovulation phase is over, luteal phase starts from the day 15 through 28 of the cycle. Parts of the follicle that are left in the ovary become a so called corpus luteum, that produces large amounts of progesterone. Progesterone is necessary for the uterine lining to proliferate, in order to become more suitable for implantation of a fertilized egg. If an egg is fertilized then it gets implanted in the uterus and corpus luteum continues to produce large amounts of progesterone and, therefore, when a woman becomes pregnant one of the first signs is absence of a period. If an egg does not get fertilized, corpus luteum diminishes in about two weeks and stops secreting progesterone, therefore menstrual bleeding occurs on the 28th day of the menstrual cycle.

During ovulation and luteal phase, the woman’s body temperature rises by one quarter to half a degree Celsius, which is important for women who use temperature method as a natural birth control method.

Duration of the menstrual cycle

The duration of the follicular phase and the menstrual cycle varies. The luteal phase usually lasts the same number of days in the same woman. Its length is from 10 to 16 days depending individually. Sperm is known to be able to survive in a woman’s body from 3 to 8 days. The period when a woman is most fertile, meaning the highest possibility of sexual intercourse to lead to pregnancy, is 5 days before ovulation and 1-2 days after it. There are certain natural methods of birth control that try to detect accurate time of ovulation and determine fertile and infertile days of the menstrual cycle.

It is, however, a mistake to take into account that ovulation always occurs on the day 14 of the menstrual cycle. There are several methods, such as basal body temperature measurements, vaginal discharge observation, observation of the cervical position. And there are also certain detection kits that help women to determine the exact day of ovulation.

However, women should be aware that natural birth control methods have a very low practical efficiency in contraception. And also, a woman must have a regular menstrual cycle in order to use natural birth control method effectively.

There is also a phenomenon known for women, who live closely together, for example, roommates, to have menstrual cycles similar in length. Although this was not 100% proved, it can still be observed, and thought to be due to the action of pheromones.

The history of birth control

Throughout many years people tried to find ways to control fertility and prevent pregnancies. Even though in the earliest times people had little or no idea how women became pregnant, there were many mechanisms and various birth control methods used in many ancient cultures to avoid pregnancies.
Many of these methods had nothing to do with sexual intercourse or the act of conceiving a baby and, obviously, had little if any effect on birth control. Such methods were dances, amulets and rituals. Some methods, however, even if they were used without any knowledge about how to get pregnant, were ancient modifications of modern methods of birth control used even today.

In the times when pregnancy was believed to be controlled by spirits, the moon or the sun, rituals, myths, dances and amulets were popular means to control fertility. Those were the times when pregnancy and childbirth were dangerous to women’s lives. The death rate during childbirth or after it was high, and women tried to avoid pregnancy especially when they had already many children. The birth control methods were passed on from woman to woman quietly. It is known that in cultures where the moon was believed to be the power of conception, women tended to sleep out of the reach of moonlight in order to avoid pregnancy. In some other cultures throwing corn kernels, apples, or nails into a well or springing at a magical hour was believed to help a woman to stay un-pregnant for a month. Another ritual that was thought to help prevent unwanted pregnancy was walking over graves of dead female ancestors.

Birth control in Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman women put a leather pouch filled with cat’s liver on their left foot during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Some women believed that spitting three times into a frog’s mouth was a good method of birth control. European women thought that they could prevent pregnancy by turning backwards a wheel of a mill at midnight. And in many cultures women constantly wore various necklaces and amulets, which were supposed to have the power of controlling the act of conception.

Birth control in Ancient Greece

Some time later natural family planning techniques came into the minds of ancient women. The rhythm method, known and used by some women even nowadays, was introduced by a Greek gynecologist Soranus in the second century CE. He suggested that women should avoid sex during the days when ovulation occurred because he thought they were then most fertile. However, he was absolutely wrong assuming that ovulation occurred during the days of menstrual bleeding. In addition to the rhythm method, Soranus advised women to hold the breath and draw their bodies back during sex in order to stop the sperm from entering a woman’s body. He also suggested a woman to jump backwards seven times after sexual intercourse or sit down on bent knees to cause sneezing. These methods had no scientific basis and thus were not effective in birth control .

Another method, with the knowledge of ovulation and its effect on conception was continuous breast-feeding until a child was three years old. Somehow women knew that breast-feeding had to prevent ovulation and therefore they were not able to conceive.

The only method that had then and still has now a hundred percent efficiency in birth control was abstinence . Therefore many women had joined the monasteries and became nuns. For other women complete abstinence was not possible on a long-term basis but some religions and ethical groups had periods when sex was prohibited, such as during Lent or different religious or ethical holidays. However, these had no effect on birth control.

Birth control in Ancient Egypt

One of the oldest methods, that had something to do with the knowledge of how women became pregnant, was used in Egypt around 1500 BC. It is thought to be the oldest contraceptive. Suppositories made out of crocodile dung or honey, were used by women. It was believed that the sticky substance could stop the white fluid from a man entering a woman’s body. This probably only discouraged a man from having sexual intercourse with a woman who used these suppositories.

Birth control methods

The history of suppositories in birth control is large and modern science has approved the efficiency in birth control of some of them. For example, women used to grind acacia tree bark, dates and honey together and apply such a paste on the vulva before sexual intercourse. Since acacia tree bark has some lactic acid that is used even in modern spermicides, such suppositories had some scientific basis in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The oldest modification of an intrauterine device (IUD) used today was suggested by Hippocrates who thought that inserting different objects into the uterus could make pregnancy impossible. Additionally, Arab camel drivers placed stones into the uterus of their female camels in order to prevent pregnancy in them. However, the founder of a modern IUD was German gynecologist Grafenberg, who developed the first IUD in 1920. Unlike in today used IUDs he took silkworm and silver wire, which was soiled into a ring, to produce the very first IUD.

The history of female pessaries reaches even the second century BCE. Even though pessaries are used in modern times as well, ancient pessaries were produced from rather different materials than they are now. Ancient pessaries were produced out of elephant dung, seaweed, and leaves. Also women used to put different substances like sea sponges or soft wool. You can only imagine how painful sex must have been those days. W. J. Rendel was a man who developed the first modern pessary and introduced it into the market in 1800s. It was made out of quinine or cacao butter and like the modern ones had to be inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse.

There were various oral substances that ancient women in different cultures used to take to prevent pregnancies. Some of the substances not only prevented pregnancy but were also unhealthy or even lethal. Chinese women drank mercury whereas Indian women took carrot seeds and women in Eastern Canada made tea out of beaver testicles and drank it to avoid pregnancy. Even in older times poisonous substances including mercury, arsenic and strychnine were used as a form of oral contraceptives. However, it took a lot of time and effort until a modern oral contraceptive – the birth control pill – came onto the market.

Men also used different methods in order to prevent pregnancy in their female partners from occurring. The oldest method of birth control known is coitus interruptus, which means that a man pulls his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. Although it is used by some even nowadays, coitus interruptus is, however, a poorly effective method of birth control since a small amount of fluid released prior to ejaculation contains some sperm. Another form of male birth control was squeezing the base of the penis so that a man does not ejaculate. This is called coitus reservatus. Although neither coitus interruptus nor coitus reservatus could be efficient enough in birth control.

Men also used cruel methods to prevent conception. This includes a so called sub-incision. In some tribes they used to cut a small hole in the male urethra at the base of the penis, so that semen discharges through the hole instead of entering the vagina during ejaculation. A man had to put a finger on the hole when urinating as well as when he wanted to make his female partner pregnant.


Condoms , still present today, were first produced in 1562. However, they were very different from those used today. Firstly, condoms were made out of animal intestines, goat bladders or blowfish intestines. Secondly, they were used many times washing them after each use. Condoms even those days were used to protect not only against pregnancy but also against venereal diseases. Latex rubber condoms were first produced in 1840s and have been used and efficient ever since.

Modern-day birth control

Medical progress and modern technologies have made a lot of differences in sexual lives of men and women. Women have a lot of birth control methods they can choose these days in order to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Scientists are about to introduce a new method of contraception for men – the male birth control pill. However, there are a lot of people in the world today, who still use various old birth control methods to avoid unexpected pregnancies. How far have we really come from ancient times?

Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) include infections, which are spread through a sexual contact from one person to another. These diseases are a serious problem to people who decide to be sexually active. Statistics shows that there are 15 million of new cases of STD’s are recorded every year in the United States of America. Most of these cases are among the age groups from 15 – 24. Therefore it is very important to understand how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and protect against them.

Most of STD’s can cause health problems to infected people, especially women. Some of them may result in infertility, others may even be fatal. These diseases may result in pelvic inflammatory disease in women if untreated, which could cause infertility. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) also transmitted through sexual contact is one of the main causes of cervical cancer. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it as for a few other STD’s. Therefore it is very important to understand how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and protect against them.

Human Papilloma virus

At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women are said to have Human Papilloma Virus — the main cause of cervical cancer. The only way to protect against this disease is to avoid sexual contact. However, those who decide to be sexually active should at least have a steady partnership and only one partner. Although if the partner had at least one sexual contact before, there is no guarantee that he/she is not infected already. Still, monogamous relationships are said to lower the risk and spread of HPV.
Those, who are not in a monogamous relationship, should have as few partners as possible. They should also choose reliable partners, who have had fewer sexual contacts. However, this could be hard to judge, since HPV usually develops no signs, except for warts that may occur in some cases, and a person may not know if he/she is infected. The use of latex condoms is known to reduce the risk of HPV. But there is no 100 percent efficient protection against this particular infection since the virus also occurs in the genital areas not covered with a condom.

Huma Immunodeficiency virus

Another serious STD that many people fear off is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) the cause of AIDS. The virus can be spread through vaginal, oral, anal sexual act, and blood. It cannot be transmitted through other human fluids, like saliva and tears. Although there are certain medicines to prolong an infected person’s life, there is, however, no cure for the infection. The only way to protect against HIV is to abstain from sex . If a person is sexually active but is in a long-term monogamous relationship with a person who is negative for HIV, he/she is considered to be safe.

However, if a person decides to be sexually active but is not in a monogamous relationship, he/she is at risk of STD’s, including HIV. The only way to protect against the virus is to use latex condoms properly every time a sexual contact occurs. During oral sex a person should use Saran or plastic wrap to be protected against STD’s and Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In addition, the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases usually increases the risk of acquiring HIV infection.

Hepatitis B and C

Although many people do not realize that viral Hepatitis B and C is also a type of a sexually transmitted disease. B and C type Hepatitis may be spread through sexual contact and blood. One of the ways to prevent the spread of this disease is to abstain from sex. If a person decides to become sexually active, the use of latex condoms reduces the risk to acquire Hepatitis. A significant mean to protect against this disease is to be vaccinated for Hepatitis B. This vaccine is accessible for people of all age groups.

And finally, it is important for people to understand that frequent testing for STD’s is one of prevention methods to stop the spread of these diseases. Another method, in general, is to abstain from sexual contact or — if a person is already sexually active — to abstain from sex with unreliable or infected people. Remember, whenever you have sexual intercourse –wear a condom .

Birth control for teens

Although your body gradually becomes the same as the one of an adult during adolescence, it does not mean that you are ready to face the problems of a grown-up life. Therefore it is important to make a decision about sex. It is not easy for anyone and you might want to wait until you are fully grown. If you feel that it is too early to have sex than don’t do it and say so.

However, when you decide to have sex or if you are already sexually active you need to know about different methods of birth control and you should take measures to abstain pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Keep in mind that thousands of young girls become pregnant although they are not ready to have children yet. You might want to read this information about various means of birth control in order to be ready when you become sexually active.

First of all before deciding to have sex for the first time there are certain things you need to know:

  • It is your and only your decision to have sex when you want to.
  • You have the right to say no and your wish should be respected by others.
  • Nobody may use pressure on you in order to persuade you to involve in sexual relations.
  • When you decide that you are mature to have sex, make sure you take all the steps to avoid unexpected pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • A woman can become pregnant or get a sexually transmitted disease during her first intercourse, period, standing during sex, and even when a guy pulls his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation (release of  sperm).
  • Protection is a worry of both partners.

Hormonal Contraception

This type of contraception includes taking hormones, which are substances produced in a woman’s organism. They control different body organs. This method of birth control include: contraceptive pills , referred as the “pill”, a hormonal patch and vaginal contraceptive ring . All of them work in the way to prevent release of an egg and thicken the cervical mucus. Therefore, if an egg is not released from the ovaries you will not get pregnant.

If you choose one of the most popular methods, the “pill”, you will have to take them everyday at the same time, except four days of the month during which your period will occur. There are combined progestin-estrogen and progestin-only pills. Your gynecologist should help you choose the ones that would suit you best. The efficiency of the pill is 92-99%.

Hormonal patch is a small, thin patch that you should stick to your stomach, buttocks, upper arm or back for three weeks. You should stick a new patch every week of the month except the fourth week. It is more comfortable that the pill since you do not have to worry about forgetting to use birth control everyday. In addition, it has fewer side effects. The efficiency of the patch is 99.7%.

Another long-term hormonal birth control method is a vaginal ring that should be placed deep into the vagina for three consecutive weeks of the month. It should be removed from the vagina after three weeks and a new one should be placed after a one-week break. The efficiency of the method is 99.5%.

It is important for you to know that none of the hormonal contraception methods protects against sexually transmitted diseases.

Barrier Methods

One of the most popular barrier methods is a male condom , a latex sheath put on the erect penis during sexual intercourse. It is also the only method that can not only prevent unwanted pregnancy but also reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. The efficiency in birth control reaches 85-98%.

It is important to wear a condom properly because improper use may result in unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. You may learn how to use a condom reading the information leaflet enclosed into a condom packet. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, such as Vaseline, since they reduce the efficiency of this barrier birth control method.

Other barrier means of contraception are  cervical cap , contraceptive sponge and female condoms . Remember that these methods do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. The barrier means of contraception are used by a female before each sexual intercourse. A woman should insert either of the mentioned methods into her vagina before sex and remove them after not fewer than 6 hours after the last sexual act.

The main way how barrier contraception protects against unwanted pregnancy is by blocking the sperm so that it cannot enter the vagina. It may take some time to learn how to use these methods properly, so don’t be afraid to ask your gynecologist to teach you to do this.

These are the main kinds of birth control methods that can be recommended to sexually active teenagers. It may be difficult to choose one of them therefore it is a good idea to talk to your family doctor or your general practitioner. They will keep your conversation in secret so that nobody will find out about it. Although, it may be a good idea to talk to your parents or school counselor in order to make the right decision. Remember, that you friends may also not know much on this topic therefore they are not the best source of information. And finally, make sure you make the right decision so that you will not regret it later.

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Sexuality education

Statistics shows that 60% of teenage women and 70% of teenage men are already sexually active by their 18th Birthday. 75% of teenage pregnancies are unintended, and 25% of these pregnancies end up in abortion. Most of teenage pregnancies happen because of an early beginning of sexual life, low use of birth control methods , and lack of information on sexuality and protection against unintended conception and sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore sexuality education is one of the most effective ways in providing such information to young people.

Sex education, also called sexuality education or relationships education, is a course, during which young people receive information and form their opinions and beliefs to sex, relationships and intimacy. It helps the listeners to form their skills for them to be ready when they make a choice to have a relationship and sex for the first time. This way sexuality education assists in protecting teenagers against sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies, through teaching them different methods of birth control.

When sex education should start?

One of the most important questions is when sex education should start. Most specialists agree that it should start before young people enter puberty, meaning that they have not formed their views on sexuality and sexual behavior. It depends very much on the level of understanding which information should be given. Therefore the information given is different in different age groups, since what understandable to a 16-year-old is, will be inappropriate to a 12-year-old. Usually sex education starts at the age of 11-12, depending on the country and state policies.

Sex education works both ways – it helps to decrease negative results and improve young people‘s relationships. With all the information given students are then able to make informed choices and decisions when they decide so. It works to form the skills that teenagers need in their lives. Sex education is not only about introducing and discussing various methods of birth control or abortion, it is also about teaching young people to listen, negotiate and make a decision. It assists in recognizing the pressures other people may have on them and teaching how to resist them.

Our society forms controversial attitudes towards sex. Means of mass media give a lot of information on sexuality and contraception and during sex education young people are taught how to recognize useful information and facts. For example, most health messages stress the dangers and risks when sex life is concerned, whereas mass media mostly support the image that a sexually active person is more affectionate and progressive.

During sexual education young people get information on religious and ethical aspects about sexuality, abortion, and sex life. Then students can discuss them during the course.

The aim of sex education

Part of the education is to give the youth a message what sex is, why people make love, what consequences it may have. In addition, young people can find out about emotional aspects of sex and negative aspects if sexual life begins before they are mature enough. This does not mean that the educator sets strong standards and narrow moralistic ways. He/she only provides all the possible information and guidelines. Young people then should be able to make decisions for themselves what the positive properties of love relationships are.

People during puberty usually are very curious about their body changes, gender differences, and sexuality — the things they do not know yet. Therefore they seek for information from their friends, mass media, like TV, newspapers and magazines. It could be wrong because their friends also do not know much about sexuality and birth control, mass media also provides with sometimes unreliable information, which could be damaging to people who are not yet able to make their own judgments. Hence, teenagers form a wrong opinion on sex, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases. Some of them may think that it is not possible to get pregnant during a first sexual act, others may not know that only a male condom protects against most sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS/HIV. It is significant, therefore, to provide correct information in order to fix mistaken opinions. And hence this lowers the danger that young people may put themselves to.

Usually during sex information students are taught about sexual development, including physical and emotional transformations connected with puberty. They also are being informed on reproduction — when a woman can get pregnant, how it all happens, what sexually transmitted diseases are and how people can protect themselves against them. In addition, teenagers are provided with the facts of various birth control methods , their advantages, disadvantages, and side effects. They also find out how each method works, how various methods are used, what the efficiency is, and the decision whether to use them or not. Young people get information on what kinds of relationships are, what positive qualities of them are, what commitment, marriage and partnership are.

In some countries state policies on sex education are very controversial and basically negative. However, practice shows that efficient sex education is very useful and helpful to young people, since they can then make informed and wise decisions in their future lives.

In vitro fertilization

Many people, who are not able to have children naturally, choose alternative methods of conception , and in vitro fertilization is one of them.

What is it?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a certain technique during which a human egg is fertilized outside the body under laboratory conditions. This method is a worldwide spread technique to help infertile couples conceive a baby when other means of conception have failed.

History of IVF

In vitro fertilization procedure was first created by British scientists, an embryologist Dr. Edwards and a gynecologist Dr. Steptoe. It was performed successfully for the firs time in 1978.

About 1% of all babies are born through IVF procedure. Nearly 120,000 babies are born after IVF in the United States alone. The possibility to have a continuous pregnancy after IVF procedure has improved; it ranges from 17% to 25%, although earlier it was practically zero.

Process of IVF

In vitro fertilization procedure has several stages. A woman has to undergo two week long intensive preparation in order to receive several healthy eggs for the procedure. A woman will have to take hormonal preparations during this period. The doctor will know the exact time for taking the eggs from the ovaries by performing blood tests and ultrasound scan of the ovaries. The proper time to take the eggs is just before the ovulation, when the eggs are nearly ready to be fertilized.

Another step is to take the eggs for in vitro fertilization. This is a simple procedure, during which a needle through a vaginal wall is injected under local anesthesia and oocites (eggs) are gathered. Some women may experience discomfort during the procedure. This feeling is usually described as a minor discomfort similar to that of a Pap smear. A woman is able to go back to her normal routine straight after the procedure.

The fluid from the ovaries is kept under physiological conditions in the lab until the eggs are ready to be fertilized. Then the oocites are placed together with the sperm and hence fertilized. Normally, the eggs develop into pre-embryos that are ready to be implanted into the uterus for further development.

These pre-embryos are placed through the vagina into the uterus about two days after their retrieval by a special catheter. A woman should stay quietly in bed for about an hour. She is then able to go back home and return to her normal daily routine.

The patient will have to come back to the clinic in two weeks after the pre-embryo transfer for the pregnancy test. Usually the doctor prescribes progesterone for this period, since this hormone helps the uterine lining to be thick and suitable for implantation.


A healthy egg, sperm able to fertilize an egg and the uterus that is healthy to manage a pregnancy is needed for in vitro fertilization. Usually, IVF is chosen when all other options of fertilization have failed.

In vitro fertilization complications

In vitro fertilization has certain risks and complications, one of the most frequent being multiple births. This results from the routine to place more than one pre-embryo during the transfer period. Although strict regulations have been made in order to minimize the number of pre-embryos transferred, these restrictions are not being followed everywhere. Multiple births cause a greater risk for pregnancy loss, obstetrical complications, prematurity and neonatal morbidity, as well as premature labor.

Another complication is a so called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, occurring due to hormonal therapy prior to retrieval of the eggs.

An increased risk of births defects after IVF have not been proved by significant study data.

In vitro fertilizatin cost

One cycle of IVF procedure usually costs from $10,000 to $15,000. Usually, a couple needs more than one cycle of in vitro fertilization procedure until continuous and successful pregnancy is achieved.

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Women are unique in their nature. Their body changes and women stop to be reproductively available after they have lived half of their lives. These changes are normal, natural and affect not only the physical but also psychological part of women. Some people compare menopause to the metamorphosis of a butterfly — women also have to take time during this period and stay with themselves alone, like a future butterfly in a cocoon.

What is menopause?

Menopause literally means the last menstruation. Menstruation usually stops because the levels of estrogen and progesterone are so low that they are not able to stimulate endometrium and it becomes very thin and, hence, does not bleed. Usually menopause comes to women when they are in their early/mid 40s to late 50s/early 60s. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop to produce hormones because they have too few egg cells.

The period before menopause is called a climacteric period during which hormones are changing, fluctuating but are still able to stimulate endometrium and cause menstrual bleeding.

The period from the occurrence of menopausal symptoms to postmenopause is called perimenopause.

The period after the last menstrual flow is postmenopause and is generally described as a 12-month period with no menstruations when ovaries are intact and straight after the surgery when the ovaries have been taken out.

Menopause symptoms

Women going through perimenopause and menopause experience unpleasant symptoms that may interfere with their normal life. These symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations and migraine headaches. Breast swelling and tenderness may occur resulting in discomfort. Your periods will become irregular and vaginal dryness will occur. You may feel unhappy about your changed libido, you may have to adjust lower or greater sex drive. Other symptoms include skin changes, bone loss, changed thinking and sleeplessness.

Menopause treatment

Menopause is a normal change in a female life. It is not an illness and has no specific treatment and it does not have to be cured. However, medical staff has some methods that may treat the bothering menopause symptoms.

Hot flashes may be treated with soy protein since it contains phytoestrogens, the natural plant estrogens that may replace the deficiency of human estrogens. Lifestyle modifications are also known to be effective in overcoming hot flashes. A woman should exercise regularly and avoid food substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food, that stimulate the occurrence of hot flashes.

Weight gain may be avoided if a woman controls her diet and exercises more. In order to prevent the development of osteoporosis, females should maintain normal calcium intake and perform regular exercise.

A well-known treatment method is hormone replacement therapy, which includes a combination therapy of estrogen and progesterone or estrogen itself. This type of treatment is considered to be helpful for building up the bone mass, decreasing cholesterol level, and decreases the number of fractures.

Bear in mind that some women may find it hard to accept the changes of their body and mind. Therefore, family support is vital. In addition, a woman should try to understand the changes and accept them as a normal progression of their lives.

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Infertility is defined as inability to naturally conceive a baby or carry it out. A couple is concerned to be infertile when it cannot conceive a baby or carry the pregnancy to term after a year of practicing normal sexual intercourse.

Healthy couples in the middle of their 20’s have an estimated chance of 25% to become pregnant in every month.

Infertility causes

6.1 million of adults are infertile in the United States. One third of cases is due to female infertility, another one third accounts for male infertility, 15% of infertile cases is due to the factors of both partners and the rest is considered to be unexplained cases.

Infertility is classified as primary and secondary infertility.

Primary infertility is when a couple cannot conceive a baby and they have had no babies before. For example, Robertsonian translocation in the chromosomes causes recurrent abortions or complete infertility.

Secondary infertility is defined when a couple have already had a baby but is not able to conceive another one or carry the pregnancy to term. This may occur due to many medical conditions, illnesses, traumas etc. In addition, a couple may not be able to have a baby due to age or because they are in a big stress of becoming another baby. If either of the partners in a couple has been changed, infertility is not considered to be secondary.

Female infertility

Female factors include various hormonal disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, adrenal disease. Also, female infertility may be caused by serious diseases of the liver and kidneys. Even psychological factors play an important role. There are several central factors, associated with different hypothalamic-pituitary disorders, such as hypopituitarism and hypothalamic dysfunction. Many gynecological diseases and syndromes may impair reproductive function. These include ovarian disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, luteal dysfunction, ovarian neoplasm and many others. Tubal occlusion, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and pelvic adhesions are the most frequent reasons of female infertility.

Some conditions, related to the uterus, cervix and vagina may also affect fertility. These are vaginismus, vaginal obstruction, cervical stenosis, antisperm antibodies found in the cervix, insufficient cervical mucus, so the sperm cannot travel further and survive.

Certain genetic or inborn disorders also result in female infertility. These include uterine malformations, Asherman’s syndrome, intersexed conditions, turner syndrome.


Male infertility

Males may also be infertile due to hormonal disorders, which affect the development of their reproductive system and the sperm. Such disorders include diabetes, thyroid, hyperprolactinemia, hypopituitarism, hypogonadism. Fertility may be affected by psychological factors, alcohol, drugs and smoking. Some genetic causes impair the fertility function, such as Klinefelter syndrome. There are also many specific testicular reasons which result in infertility. These are cryptorchidism, hydrocele, varicocele, seminoma, neoplasm of the seminal cells. Mumps, a simple childhood disease, may affect the reproductive function. Different posttesticular factors, such as obstruction of the vas deferens, infection, impotence, retrograde ejaculation, when the sperm does not come out from the urethra but redirects to the urinary bladder, affect reproductive function of a man. And finally, the quality of the sperm, which is defined by its motility and number of sperm present in the ejaculate, is also very important for a man to fertilize a woman. A man may produce too few sperm or it can be of poor motility.

Combined factors

The couple may be infertile if both of the partners are infertile or only one of the partners have reproductive deficiency or, in a woman’s case, she is not able to carry the pregnancy to term. Also, there are cases when individually both partners are fertile but being together, they need assistance in having a baby.

Infertility treatment

There are various treatment options, which are used depending on the disorder. Fertility medicines, such as clomifene citrate, are used to stimulate ovulation. Obstructed Fallopian tubes can be treated with surgery, called tuboplasty. In vitro fertilization is especially popular these days. In in vitro fertilization donor egs or sperm may be used when a couple’s reproductive cells are unusable or impaired. Intracytoplasm sperm injection, zygote intrafallopian transfer and gamete intrefallopian transfer are three modifications of in vitro fertilization.

Recommended e-books:

  1. Become pregnant
  2. Conception secrets – how to get pregnant fast
  3. Uncover answers to infertility
  4. Pregnancy success


Imagine the situation: you come home from work after a terribly long day during which your female boss was scolding you all day long, your secretary got insulted and burst into tears when you asked her to bring you a cup of morning coffee, and finally your wife/better half/lover locked herself in your bedroom in front of TV with a giant jar of chocolate-peanut butter ice-cream. Have you tried asking “What’s wrong?” Did it get worse? I bet it did.

PMS medicine

This is what the male friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and life partners of more than 45 million women worldwide are going through at least once a month: they have to deal with all possible women’s mood changes caused by anxiety, depression, cramps, heaviness and headache. They feel irritable, start crying without reason, find themselves confused, lost, clumsy, absent-minded, withdrawn, and paranoid and even have suicidal thoughts. They don’t feel beautiful and if one tries to compliment them, everything turns to another drama on the monthly basis.

Don’t be surprised when the conversation with the verbal and physical expression of sympathy, care and love will turn into the outpouring of the swearwords, names and reasonless charges. Does something like ‘I need a hug, GET LOST!, I miss you, I WANNA BE ALONE!, kiss me, I HATE YOU!’ uttered at the same time sound familiar to you? I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing you would want to ask in the situation like this would be ‘Honey please make sense!’

PMS symptoms

Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact reasons of PMS are unknown. It is also unknown why some of us can go into extremes, some have fairly mild symptoms, and others do not feel anything at all. However, doctors believe that PMS, depression and physical discomfort has something to do with neurochemical changes in women’s brain.

Recent studies proved that female hormone estrogen makes its contribution to PMS as well. It has a feature of increasing brain activity and action of the heart. It also explains why some women tend to gain wait before their period starts, which definitely is one more reason for a woman to feel irritated and out of control.

You Can Avoid It, if You’re… Lucky

The more you try to make the situation better, the less successful you are. It’s one more of those general truths. You may try to approach a woman with a PMS symptoms by making jokes and using such euphemistic words as Aunt Flo, Monthly Visitor, Special Friend etc.; you may pretend that you understand and support her, you may constantly tell her how beautiful, lovely and fabulous she is, but none of that would work. The only thing that might help is consulting the calendar and getting yourself emotionally ready for the upcoming outburst of PMS symptoms. You might be lucky and get it right! And in case you didn’t, it would at least be a good reminder of when to go to the store and get some chocolate, ice-cream and chocolate chip cookie dough. Take a deep breath man and go, just go!

Ineffective birth control

All the people having sexual intercourse consider the chance of pregnancy. Therefore, the majority of them are using contraceptive methods. However, not all birth control methods are equally effective or ineffective at all.


Some women also use misleading method which is called douching. It is used right after sex when women expects to ‘clean’ vagina and vulva from sperm by vaginal douche. However, this method is completely ineffective as this process, on the contrast, puts sperm only deeper in vagina which is followed by a huge chance to become pregnant. In addition, the organism of every woman has an ability to clean itself. Therefore, there is no need for vaginal douche.


This method is used by immense amount of couples since they discovered that pregnancy is that result of man’s ejaculation into vagina. This is the natural way to avoid pregnancy as it doesn’t require any other additional costs or contraceptives. If any other birth control methods are not available at certain moment, man just has to take out his penis from vagina just before he ejaculates and ‘come’ somewhere away from vulva. However, man must be familiar to his body as much as possible to ejaculate in time. Moreover, there must very strong trust between partners of intercourse. Therefore, all these aspects influence this method to be considered as ineffective birth control. The rate of failure is as high as 19%. It is also very important to emphasize that during the intercourse before ejaculation certain ‘pre-ejaculation’ fluid comes out of sperm. Usually it is lubricating fluid; however, it happens that some sperm can also be present. Hence, man who is has not familiar to his body enough or has no experience or ejaculate prematurely should not practice the method of withdrawal.


  • Pills and antibiotics. Both of the drugs used together can result in pregnancy. Some antibiotics and drugs can make birth control pills ineffective; therefore, it is important to ask the doctor before taking antibiotics.
  • Stand up after intercourse. Some misguided women think that you should immediately stand after sexual intercourse in order to stop sperm going towards uterus. However, sperm start moving at the same moment it is inside.
  • Man having hot bath before sex. It has no connection with avoiding pregnancy.
  • Refraining orgasm of women or breastfeeding. Totally ineffective!