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menstrual health

The menstrual cycle is a multi-stage process lasting an average of 28 days. The menses phase of the cycle, when the uterine lining is shed and vaginal bleeding occurs, typically lasts about 3 to 5 days. Getty Images/Westend61 hide caption

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Getty Images/Westend61

Writer and health educator Marni Sommer is co-author of A Girl's Guide to Puberty & Periods, which aims to help young people ages 9 to 14 understand the changes that happen in puberty and what to expect when. Grow & Know/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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Grow & Know/Screenshot by NPR

It's not a known side effect, but some people are experiencing changes to their menstrual cycles after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Reports have led some researchers to take a closer look at the possible connection. Scott Eisen/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Annie Kunz in the women's heptathlon 100-meter hurdles during the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., in June. Building her training regimen around recent findings from sex-specific sports medicine research has made a difference in her performance, says Kunz, who is competing at the Tokyo Olympics. Steph Chambers/Getty Images hide caption

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Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Activists rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in February in support of legislation for free period products. Scotland will make these products free to all who need them after lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that will require tampons and pads to be available in public places. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images hide caption

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Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A menstrual cup — this one is made of silicone rubber — is designed to collect menstrual blood. The bell-shaped device is folded and inserted into the vagina. The tip helps with removal. Science Source hide caption

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Science Source