Menstrual Cycle Phases
Menstrual cycles and myths have been connected for several centuries. Some myths empower girls as in the Indian and hunters cultures. Others tend to relate the menstruation to a punishment as in the Mayan culture. As for us, the new generation, menstrual cycle is a monthly phase where we have to endure the severity of PMS, cramps and PMDD.
What is a menstrual cycle?
A menstrual cycle is a monthly phase each woman will have to experience. It starts at the age of 14 and lasts till the 50’s when menopause starts. It happens every 28 days. Some women experience shorter cycle of 22 days others have longer cycles going up to 40 days.
How many phases are there in a menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is divided into 2 phases:
- Follicular phase: It starts from the first day of your period and continues till ovulation. This phase timing can vary from 7 to 30 days. It is regulated by the FSH hormone which stimulates the maturation of the follicle. The developing of follicles triggers the production of estrogen. Once the level of estrogen is high a luteinizing hormone (LH) is released and causes the burst of the egg that starts its journey through the fallopian tube to the uterus.
Usually the egg lives for 24hours only. Some women may experience some spotting during this phase.
- Luteal Phase: This phase happens after the egg has been released. The follicle now is called “corpus luteum” and lives for about 12 days. It releases progesterone which helps to thicken and prepare the uterine membrane for implantation. This phase lasts usually 14 to 16 days only. It finishes when you have your period.
Usually if pregnancy happens during this phase, the progesterone level continues to rise which blocks the release of FSH and estrogen. If the egg is not fertilized, the progesterone level will decrease and a new cycle will start.