Do females have eggs? Have these eggs always been there or have they been produced at some stage in her life or during puberty? How are these eggs related to them bleeding every month throughout the year? Understanding the menstrual cycle can help you to improve your menstrual health. Let’s get all your questions cleared through this basic post about the reproductive cycle in females.
Are you born with eggs?
The female reproductive cycle refers to maturation of eggs inside the ovaries. When a baby girl is in her mother’s womb, her entire egg supply (which is about 2 to 4 million, 1 to 2 million per ovary) will be created but all of it will remain in an inactive state. This egg creation process within the mother’s womb is called as oogenesis.
What is a menstrual cycle?
Did you know that your body prepares yourself to be pregnant every month? So, your menstrual cycle and your menstruation (period) are controlled by hormones called estrogen and progesterone produced by a pair of ovaries. Let’s break it down a bit and make it easier to understand.
When a baby girl grows up and reaches puberty the eggs start becoming active wherein her reproductive cycle would start. During this cycle, one egg each month goes through a series of stages to get matured and activated each month. Once an egg matures, it is pushed out of the ovary towards the uterus where it could either be fused with a sperm after fertilizing it or could just remain there unfertilized and be discharged by a process of menstruation. The uterus consists of a thick lining of tissues and blood which provides a good atmosphere for the fertilized egg to grow and lead to pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, the uterus doesn’t need the thick lining of tissues and blood. This lining of the tissues break down and flows out of your body through the vagina. This process of shedding out the tissues, is called menstruation. When a female gets pregnant, the uterus needs the thick lining and hence you don’t have your periods while you are pregnant.
Fertility awareness (FA) is basically a method which is used to avoid pregnancy, to achieve pregnancy and most importantly it is a way to monitor your gynecological health. There are various methods of FA one of the most commonly used being the calendar method. A Calendar method involves a chart to store and track your cycles.
There are various tracking apps available online. Some of the good ones are:
Clue: Simple, easy to use, informative, a fantastic app with a great interface.
Period Tracker: A user friendly app with really good levels of accuracy when it comes to predicting your cycles.
Hope this post was useful for some of you guys!Let us know in the comments if you would like us to do an in-depth post about the same.
Acne originates from the Greek work “akme” which means a point or a spot. Acne is a very common skin condition affecting a mix of population including teens and adults. Though it is not lethal, having acne can lower one’s self esteem. It is generated when the sebaceous glands (oil producing glands) situated at the very end of the hair follicles are seen to be overactive. In very simple words, skin cells along with oil and hair clump up together. This clump gets infected with bacteria resulting in a swelling.
There are two categories of acne:
1.) Non-Inflammatory Acne
Non-Inflammatory acne generally does not cause any swelling. This category includes comedones. A comedo is a hair follicle (skin pore) which is clogged. Sebum combined with skin debris leads to blockage of these hair follicles. A comedo could be:
Blackheads are comedones in which the pores remain open and stretched hence they are also called open comedone. These open pores that have been clogged with excess oil and melanin build-up gets exposed to air and results in discoloration, hence the name “blackhead”. It could also be generated due to the presence of dead skin cells which gets accumulated along with the oil – based cosmetic products used on the surface of the skin.
Whiteheads are small lumps that appear on the surface of the skin. The pores in this case, are still clogged by debris and oil, but the surface of the pores remain closed and hence the name -closed comedone. They are similar to blackhead, the only difference is that in this case the clogged pores remain closed and is not exposed to air.
Inflammatory acne, as the name suggests, are inflamed, painful and swollen. Sebaceous gland secretion along with dead skin cells are also the reasons for inflammatory acne as well, but what makes it inflamed is the presence of bacteria that leads to an infection deep within the skin layers.
Papules and Pustules
In some cases, the pores get so badly clogged and infected by bacteria that they lead to the formation of papules or pustules. Papules are pink in color and are harder as compared to pustules. They do not contain any pus in them. Pustules are similar to papules except that they are yellowish in color due to the presence of pus.
These are blocked pores that continue to clog up such that they form hard and painful bumps that develop deep within the layers of the skin. These could linger for weeks, sometimes months and must be treated by a doctor.
So what type of acne do you have? Now that you have a fair idea of the most common types of acne, have a closer look when you get one next time and try to figure out its category. Wash your face twice a day and exfoliate your face with a mild scrub at least twice a week and do not overdo it. If you see that your condition is not improving, make sure you get some medical advice. Do not try to extract or pop your pimple!
The content found on thehealthlook.com is only for informational purposes. The text, images, or any kind of information is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of professional or medical advice. Always seek advice from a physician or your health provider if you have a medical condition.
Most of us consider hair as a reflection of our identity. Why is it that hair has always been so special and valuable since ages? Both the genders have always been giving great importance to the way their hair looks, even though hair is just a bunch of dead cells which looks hideous when viewed under a microscope.
Hair serves the purpose of protecting our scalp against sun burn as well as holding in body heat. It also protects us from the ultraviolet radiation to a certain extent. Head hair frames the face, just as eyebrows frames the eyes.
On an average, everyone sheds around 50 to 100 hair strands on a daily basis! This is pretty normal and is called hair shedding. This is not really noticeable, because around 90% of your head hair is in the growth phase whereas around 1 -2 % is in the resting phase and 10-14 % in the falling phase. (Zenildo Santos et. al.,) So the hair that falls is generally replaced immediately. With age, this process of hair re growth slows down and hence results to hair thinning and low volume.
The term Alopecia refers to hair loss. This term is not really specific, any type of hair loss is alopecia. Now, there are various types of Alopecia. The most common ones being male and female pattern baldness also called as Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). This condition accounts to more than 3 million cases per year in the US itself.
Coming to the research part of this post, I wanted to share the most recent and effective research work that has been carried on by a research scientist, Dr. Angela. She has been working on a very common medical condition – Hair loss.
Angela Christiano, a PhD scientist at the Columbia University, working and finding new discoveries for just over 20 years and in that time span she has established herself as an important research scientist in the hair loss research domain. Today, Christiano is involved in working on a potential future treatment option for Alopecia Areata, more importantly Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, these two being the most severe forms of alopecia and are conditions that are irreversible to date.
To understand this work, lets get a quick understanding about the hair growth cycle:
Hair growth follows a cycle during which, each hair strand moves from one phase to another.
a.) Anagen: Growth Phase
b.) Catagen: Involuting phase
c.) Telogen: Resting phase
JAK inhibitors: Most forms of hair loss are due to the incompetence of the hair follicles to enter Anagen phase of the hair growth cycle after being arrested in the Telogen phase. The basis of Dr. Christiano’s research on JAK inhibitors is to target the pathways that can be selectively modulated to induce entry into the Anagen phase. Her present results from the research shows that topical application of small-molecule inhibitors of the Janus kinase (JAK) – signal transducer on mouse and human skin resulted in a rapid onset of the Anagen phase. In cases of Alopecia Areata, the enzymes that are responsible for making the hair follicles dormant are also targeted by the JAK inhibitors leading to subsequent hair growth.
Dr. Christiano’s start up Vixen Pharmaceuticals worked on developing 2 different JAK inhibitors that have already been approved by the FDA as of now for the treatment of psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and also for a skin cancer – myelofibriosis.
Vixen Pharmaceuticals was then acquired by Aclaris Therapeutics recently. The company now plans on developing JAK inhibitors for treating Alopecia.
Christiano’s second start up, Rapunzel, targets on hair transplantation that is transplanting hair from one part of the body to the scalp. But none of us have enough hair on the body to be transplanted to the scalp. And this was her next aim. – Growing hair in her lab!
Dr. Christiano’s lab made that possible too! They found out that hair could be grown on a growth factor induced 3-D scaffold of a tissue culture. They were successful growing rat hair and are very positive about growing human hair in their lab too.
Everybody goes through temporary hair loss at least once in their lifetime. The most common reasons of hair fall include an unbalanced diet, increasing stress levels, consistent use of hair styling products, heating devices (hair dryer, straightening irons, curling rods etc), certain hormonal changes, high fever and so on. This is very common and it could be controlled by using certain natural and homemade remedies.