Understanding the phases of the menstrual cycle
Did you know that your menstrual cycle is not just when you have your period? The menstrual cycle is a complex and intricate process that involves several stages. Understanding the different stages of the menstrual cycle can help you better understand your body and maintain reproductive health.
So here it is…the menstrual cycle is typically divided into four stages: the menstrual phase, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
The menstrual phase is the first stage of the menstrual cycle and begins on the first day of your period. During this stage, the lining of the uterus is shed and expelled through the vagina. This bleeding can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days.
The follicular phase is the second stage of the menstrual cycle and lasts from the end of the menstrual phase to ovulation. During this phase, the body prepares for ovulation by increasing levels of estrogen. This causes the lining of the uterus to thicken and prepares the follicles in the ovaries for ovulation.
Ovulation is the third stage of the menstrual cycle and occurs around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube. Ladies who are trying to get pregnant or not get pregnant…this is the most fertile time of the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy can occur if the egg is fertilized by sperm.
The luteal phase is the final stage of the menstrual cycle and begins after ovulation. During this phase, the body prepares for pregnancy by increasing levels of progesterone. This thickens the lining of the uterus and prepares it for implantation of a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the levels of progesterone will drop and the lining of the uterus will be shed, resulting in another period.
It's important to understand the different stages of the menstrual cycle, as changes or irregularities in these stages can indicate reproductive health issues. Tracking your cycle and noting any changes or irregularities can help you identify and address these issues.