What are the Basic stages of Menstrual Cycle?
Menstruation or more colloquially referred to as chums, periods, that time of the month, Aunt Flo, or even monthly visitor is one of the major phases a woman goes through during her childbearing years. A menstrual cycle is a natural process that generally happens to women every 28 to 35 days and which generally lasts till the age of 50. Let's take a look at all the four stages and the changes a female body goes through during menstrual periods.
The 4 Basic Phases of Menstrual Periods
1. Menstrual Phase
The first phase is the menstrual phase, which is from day 1 to 5. During this stage, the uterus sheds its inner lining through the vagina in the form of fluid. Women generally have cramps caused due to the contraction of the uterine wall during this phase. Even though it seems like a lot of fluid is lost, the fluid loss in a menstrual cycle is typically 35 ml.
2. Follicular Phase
The follicular phase starts simultaneously with the menstrual stage but ends on the 13th day. During this phase, the brain releases hormones in the blood to the ovaries which increases the production of follicles. From the 15 to 20 eggs that are generated in the ovaries, only one matures and continues producing the estrogen hormone. Around the time of ovulation, the testosterone hormone is also released which increases a woman's libido.
3. Ovulation Phase
The pituitary gland secretes a hormone that causes the ovary to release the matured egg cell. The released egg cell is swept into the fallopian tube by the cilia of the fimbriae. Fimbriae are finger like projections located at the end of the fallopian tube close to the ovaries, generally this happens on the 14th day but can differ from woman to woman. Sometimes women feel a slight cramp on the lower right abdomen as the egg is released. The mature egg will stay in the fallopian tube for one whole day. If sexual intercourse happens, the sperm cells make their way to the mature egg. If the egg is fertilised then it grows in the fallopian tube for about four days and slowly moves into the uterus on the 5th day. If the sperm cells fail to fertilise the egg, the egg slowly disintegrates.
4. Luteal Phase
This phase starts from the 15th day to the 28th day. If the egg is fertilised, progesterone is still produced to thicken the uterine lining for implantation to happen. After 14 days, HCG hormone is produced. However, if fertilisation doesn't take place, progesterone slowly reduces and the body will start preparing for the menstrual periods.