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Understanding the Menstrual Cycle: The Science Behind Periods and Menstruation

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle: The Science Behind Periods and Menstruation

When women reach childbearing age, they start menstruating. It's important to understand the menstrual cycle's stages to manage your cycles, prevent or plan for pregnancy, and spot irregularities that may need medical attention. This article discusses the four menstrual cycle stages, their characteristics, and what happens during each phase.

Phases of your cycle:

  1. The menstrual cycle

    The menstrual cycle sheds the uterine lining, causing menstruation. Menstrual bleeding, which lasts three to seven days, is caused by the endometrial shedding. Menstrual bleeding is sometimes called menses.

  2. The follicular phase

    This phase begins on the first day of monthly flow and lasts roughly two weeks. The ovaries secrete FSH, which causes many ovarian follicles to grow into mature eggs. The menstrual cycle's luteal phase begins here. As follicles mature, blood estrogen levels rise.

  3. Ovulation

    Ovulation happens in a woman's third and final menstrual cycle. Conceiving couples should focus on this stage. Egg release is ovulation. Fertilization requires releasing this egg. Ovulation normally occurs on day 14 of a woman's 28-day menstrual cycle, although timing might vary. One technique to predict ovulation in women is to measure blood luteinizing hormone (LH), which increases before ovulation.

  4. Luteal phase

    The 14-day luteal phase follows ovulation. The burst follicle becomes a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone. This helps thicken the uterine lining for pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum will dissolve and progesterone and estrogen levels will decline, causing menstruation.

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