The different phases of the menstrual cycle

The different phases of the menstrual cycle
Table of contents
  1. The menstrual phase
  2. The follicular phase
  3. The ovulatory phase
  4. The luteal phase

The menstrual cycle is a series of events that are repeated every month; events that are controlled by a complex interaction of hormones. The menstrual cycle has four phases: the menstrual phase, the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase, and the luteal phase.

The menstrual phase

Still called “the period”, the menstrual phase is the beginning of the menstrual cycle and is the 1st day of bleeding. It is the drop in progesterone and estrogen levels that causes the endometrium to disintegrate and bleed. The bleeding lasts between 3 and 7 days and the woman loses about 60 ml of blood during this phase.

The follicular phase

The follicular phase lasts from the end of bleeding until the 13th day. The uterine lining thickens due to the effect of estrogen. At the same time, follicle-stimulating hormones stimulate the enlargement of the ovarian follicles. Each follicle contains an egg that can be fertilized. Each month during this phase; the woman's body prepares to welcome a pregnancy. 

The ovulatory phase

This phase extends from day 14 to day 20. The influx of estrogen induces the peak of luteinizing hormone, a hormone responsible for the rupture of the follicle and the release of the egg: this is ovulation. It takes place between the 11th and 16th day before the arrival of menstruation and on the 14th day of a normal 28-day cycle. The released egg takes 3 to 4 days to reach the uterus. It will remain there for 24 hours in the hope of being fertilized.

The luteal phase

It extends from day 21 to day 28. The empty follicle transforms into a corpus luteum, which in turn produces estrogen and progesterone. The peak of progesterone causes the thickening of the uterine mucosa and the preparation of possible fertilization. If fertilization occurs, the egg will implant in the endometrium; the cycle is broken. If not, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and a new cycle begins. 

 

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