Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Loss of blood and tissue from the uterine lining at the end of the female reproductive cycle. It has been proposed that menstruation is an evolutionary adaptation of humans to year-round sexual receptivity; because the male penis is a source of bacteria and viruses, it is advantageous to release the superficial layer of the endometrium, which removes potential sources of infection. Aka menses, menstrual period.

See menstrual cycle.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"