If you have ever wondered, "why do women have periods?" you are not alone. TED-Ed just created a brilliant video that answers this important question and puts any doubt to rest once and for all.
Here's a fun fact: humans are one of just a select few mammals that experience menstruation.
Mammals that menstruate: monkeys, apes, bats, humans and possibly elephant shrews.
It turns out that humans also menstruate more frequently than other species, although the process might waste nutrients.
To comprehend why humans menstruate so often and why it's important, TED-Ed perfectly explains this by first discussing pregnancy in humans.
It turns out that humans are the only species that has a placenta that penetrates directly into the mother's circulatory system during pregnancy. Although this is great news for the fetus, there is one big drawback.
The embryo connection to the blood supply cannot be removed in humans.
Although this sounds like a big bummer and something totally scary, the body takes precautions against this to ensure that the best embryos survive. In other words, the embryos that are used during pregnancy must be strong enough to face the many challenges and complications that could occur during the process.
Selecting the strongest and healthiest embryos occurs during implantation.
The healthy embryo embeds into the endometrium.
The embryo that fails will die, have an infection or send inaccurate hormonal signals.
Nobody wants to have these complications due to failed embryos. Therefore, the body protects itself and eliminates the risk. When ovulation doesn't result in a healthy pregnancy, the womb gets rid of its endometrial lining, including unfertilized eggs or dead embryos. This is menstruation.
So while you might not enjoy menstruation, you should at least appreciate the process for protecting your body.