Issue 50, Spring 2005
Pre-Menstrual is Not a Syndrome
By Christina Leonard
Gender neutral pronouns were used throughout this article so as not to exclude non-female identifed people who experience the menstrual cycle. Also, the term “publication” has been used in place of “period” so as to dismantle the many connotations attached to menstruation that have been exploited by the female hygiene industry.
We stand as human beings with a set of biological components. When everything is put together in the right way, we take on a form which is made up of the intricacies of bodily life. These mechanics come together and function to form an existence and give us different humans. Sharing the biology by which we are formed, we have codes running our processes: scripts that our bodies follow. If a human has the right combination of genes, chemicals, and hardware, zhe will carry out executable processes that usually repeat themselves. A beating heart, sleep and waking, hunger, swallowing, nourishing, and sometimes publishing.
The period, which I will refer to as the “publication” from this point on, is one of the ongoing processes within the body. The actual publication is the finale (or start depending on how you look at it) of a process that lasts about 4 weeks and then repeats itself over and over.....and over. But the actual publication is not that important. It is the process of leading up to print that is one of our automatic characteristics.
It starts upstairs, with the hypothalamus. This mechanism in the brain controls the autonomic functions that make humans work. It regulates the body’s thirst, hunger, libido, and endocrine functions such as chemical releases, sometimes called emotions.
One of these chemicals is our little messenger friend, Follicle Stimulating Hormone Releasing Factor. Let’s call zher Folly Factor. Folly Factor tells the pituary gland to run, run, run and secrete the Follicle Stimulating Hormone, and just a dash of Leutenizing Hormone in to the bloodstream.
The Follicle is a vacuole in which the ovaries that store the eggs are stored. Once the Leutenizing hormone reaches the follicle, it starts to mature. The theme here is chemicals. Our brain is chemical, our romance is chemical, and our publications are organically, synthetically chemical. It’s sort of like puberty. We grow, we mature, and our chemicals go wild. The Follicle’s maturity induces the production of estrogen and it starts to grow like a fruit. The fruit ripens, growing softer and less dependent on the root to which it is attached (the fallopian tube).
The ripening process lasts about seven days, and as more and more estrogen is produced in to the bloodstream the uterus thickens. When the estrogen level reaches a certain level it causes the hypothalmus to release the Leutenizing Hormone Releasing Factor, and in turn triggers the pituary gland to secrete the Leutenizing Hormone. Leuten’ feeds the follicle until it can’t be fed anymore and....pop! The egg is released. We are now in stage three, about seven days before publishing. This stage is called ovulation.
The blood supply to the ovary increases and the pelvic ligaments contract, pulling the ovary closer to the fallopian tube, allowing the egg, once released, to find its way into the tube. At this point, your lower region may seem more lubricated than usual, think back to the summer...slip and slide. But this is not just arousal. As the ovary creeps closer to the fallopian tube the cervix releases clear and sometimes sticky juices. The lubricating juices you may discover during this time are there to more efficiently hang on to the sperm that enter the cave. This is the time that a person is likely to get pregnant, as the body’s mechanics have set up an environment conducive to blastocyzing.
Over the next few days the egg travels around the rollercoaster known as the fallopian tube, and little hairs called cilia carry it away. Once the egg reaches its destination in the uterus it either fertilizes or cracks. If the sperm is there, an egg may fertilize; if it’s not, we publish a new issue.
These hormones are some of hundreds that determine our functionality, and without them our bodies experience alteration. Say somebody received birth control pills containing estrogen. Zher brain would not produce the usual percentage of the Leutenizing Hormone. In turn, the egg is not released and does not enter uterus. The publication that zhe appears to experience every new moon is not the result of the menstrual cycle, but rather a chemical withdrawal that your body goes through when the levels of estrogen or progesterone drop suddenly.
So, what does it all mean? We are built to carry out this process, along with trillions of others - this one just happens to have very large and noticeable consequences that, as long as humans among other species continue to exist, we are all a result of. Birthed by a rather simple and logical process of somebody’s biological makeup working on a time clock – digital and analog simlutaneously.
Other articles by Christina Leonard.