The beauty of your menstrual cycle is that it is completely yours, no 2 people in the world can say they experienced a similar cycle. Everybody is different and if everybody is different there cycles will surely be different too! There are lots of myths connected to the menstrual cycle, there are people who say it is connected to the moon cycle and others think it’s connected to ZILCH.
1. Menstrual Phase: The phase when you get your period. This phase starts when an egg from the previous cycle isn’t fertilized. Because pregnancy has not occurred, levels of the hormones Estrogen & Progesterone drop. The thickened lining of the uterus, sheds through the vagina. During your period, you release a combination of blood, mucus and tissue from the uterus.
You may have period symptoms like:
- Tender Breasts
- Mood Swings
- Lower Back Pain
2.Follicular Phase: The phase starts on the first day of your period (therefore, overlaps with the first phase), and ends when you ovulate. The hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland to release Follicle- Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This hormone stimulates the ovaries to produce around 5-20 small sacs called follicles. Each follicle contains an immature egg. Eventually, only the healthiest egg matures, and the rest of the follicles are reabsorbed into the body. The maturing follicle produces Estrogen as it grows, that further thickens the lining of the uterus. The average follicular phase lasts for about 16 days. It can range from 11-27 days, depending on your cycle.
3.Ovulation: The rising levels of Estrogen during the follicular phase, triggers your pituitary gland to release Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This is what starts the process of Ovulation. Ovulation is when the ovary releases a mature egg. The egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus, to be fertilized by sperm. The ovulation phase is the only time during your menstrual cycle, when you can get pregnant. You can tell that you’re ovulating by the following symptoms:
1. A slight rise in the basal body temperature
2. Thicker discharge that has the texture of egg whites
3. Ovulation happens around day 14 if you have a 28 day cycle.
4.Luteal Phase: After the follicle releases its egg,it changes into the corpus luteum. This structure releases hormones- progesterone and estrogen. The rise in the hormones helps keep the uterine lining thick and ready for a fertilized egg to implant. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, the corpus luteum shrinks away and get reabsorbed. This leads to the decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which causes the onset of your period. You may experience premenstrual symptoms like:
- Mood Swings
- Breast Swelling, pain or tenderness
- Weight gain
- Changes in sexual desire
- Food cravings
- Trouble sleeping
The luteal phase lasts for 11 to 17 days. The average length is 14 days.