Menstrual cycle  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The menstrual cycle is the regular natural changes that occurs in the uterus and ovaries that make pregnancy possible.


Society and culture


The word "menstruation" is etymologically related to "moon". The terms "menstruation" and "menses" are derived from the Latin mensis (month), which in turn relates to the Greek mene (moon) and to the roots of the English words month and moon.

The Moon

lunar effect

Even though the average length of the human menstrual cycle is similar to that of the lunar cycle, in modern society there is no relation between the two. The relationship is believed to be a coincidence. Light exposure does not appear to affect the menstrual cycle in humans. A meta-analysis of studies from 1996 showed no correlation between the human menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle.

Dogon villagers did not have electric lighting and spent most nights outdoors, talking and sleeping; so they were apparently an ideal population for detecting a lunar influence; none was found. Other scholars counter, however, that the Dogon — unlike ancestral African hunter-gatherer populations — are polygamous, meaning that reproductive synchrony would not be expected on theoretical grounds.


In a number of countries, mainly in Asia, legislation or corporate practice has introduced formal menstrual leave to provide women with either paid or unpaid leave of absence from their employment while they are menstruating. Countries with policies include Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and South Korea. The practice is controversial.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Menstrual cycle" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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