How long does a cycle last?
Typically, a cycle lasts for 25 to 32 days. This varies in each woman, depending on several criteria and stages of life, such as genetics, life changes, start of the menstrual cycle and perimenopause. Many women have an irregular menstrual cycle.
Your cycle has 2 phases.
Phase 1 explained:
This phase begins on the 1st day of your period and usually lasts 14 days. The ovarian follicles each host an egg. They continue to grow thanks to a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland (at the base of the brain). Ultimately, only one follicle matures. The others will disappear. The ovaries produce estrogen which will allow the endometrium to thicken to accommodate an egg in the event of fertilization. The level of estrogen gradually rises in the blood and triggers the sudden release of luteinizing hormone, which has been secreted and stored by the pituitary gland. The dominant follicle ruptures and delivers an egg: it is the time of ovulation! The egg begins to descend from the fallopian tube to the uterus for 3 or 4 days. It is fertile for about 24 hours. Then, and if it hasn't encountered any sperm, it degenerates. (Fascinating stuff)
Phase 2 explained:
The second phase of the menstrual cycle begins after ovulation and lasts for 2 weeks. The follicle that released the egg turns into a temporary cell structure, which produces estrogen and a large amount of progesterone. This hormone works by thickening the lining of the uterus, which becomes enriched with nutrients. Progesterone production peaks about 8 days after ovulation and then declines as the pituitary gland stops secreting hormone. It will deteriorate around the 23rd day, until the 28th day. This also lowers estrogen levels. This hormonal disparity will influence the condition of the lining of the uterus. Because it no longer receives as much blood and oxygen, the upper lining of the mucous membrane gradually will degenerate and empty through the vagina as bleeding, called a period. (Kinda neat huh?)
Emotional and Physical Effects of a Period
Mood swings & CrampsA few days before menstruation, some women may experience physical issues such as sore breasts, painful cramping, headaches, fatigue, nausea, to name a few. The cycle often brings on psychological symptoms like hypersensitivity, irritability and even depression. These are indications of the onset of menstruation, are referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The intensity varies from one woman to the other. When the quality of life is affected, it is recommended to speak to a doctor. For more about this subject, read this blog.
(We promise, once you know why it’s there, you won’t find it gross anymore!)Since hormones impact the secretion of cervical mucus, the quantity of secretions increases and reach their peak its during ovulation. The mucus is transparent and slippery. Its role is to help sperm move. During the progesterone phase, the amount of mucus decreases. It becomes thicker, opaque and sticky. This type of mucus makes it harder for sperm to pass through the uterus.
Body temperatureEver wonder why women trying to get pregnant will take their temp? Producing progesterone will cause your body temperature to rise slightly before, during and after ovulation. It remains higher during the progesterone phase.
Did you realize how magical your body is? It can create life! We hope that this explanation will help you appreciate just how wonderful you are!