Understanding The Basics of The Menstrual Cycle
For anyone who wants to learn more about the female reproductive system, understanding the basics of the menstrual cycle is essential. The menstrual cycle is a natural process that occurs in the female body every month (every 21 to 35 days), and it is vital for reproductive health. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what the menstrual cycle is, how it works, and what to expect during each stage. So let's dive in and explore the basics of the menstrual cycle together!
General overview of the menstrual cycle:
The menstrual cycle includes several phases. A full menstrual cycle begins on the first day of a period and ends the day before the next period. A typical period lasts for around 2-7 days. The exact timing of the phases of the cycle is a little bit different for every woman and can change over time However, the full cycle tends to last for 21-35 days.
The typical menstrual cycle consists of the following stages:
Days 1–5: The first day of bleeding is considered Day 1 of the cycle. Your period can last anywhere from 2 to 7 days and 5 days on average. Bleeding is usually heaviest in the first 2 days.
Days 6–14: Once the bleeding stops, the uterine lining/endometrium begins to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy. The uterine lining becomes thicker and enriched in blood and nutrients.
Day 14-25: Somewhere around day 14, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. If sperm are present in the fallopian tube at this time, fertilization can occur. In this case, the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus and attempt to implant in the uterine wall.
Days 25–28: If the egg was not fertilized or implantation does not occur, hormonal changes signal the uterus to prepare to shed its lining, and the egg breaks down and is shed along with the lining. The cycle begins again on Day 1 menstrual bleeding.
When I’m I most fertile?
There’s only a short time when a woman can get pregnant, and that is the time around ovulation commonly referred to as the fertile window. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when ovulation happens but in most women, it happens around 10 to 16 days before the next period. For instance, If you have a 28-day cycle you are likely to be fertile around day 14 of your menstrual cycle.
What could affect your menstrual cycle?
Some of the most common things that can affect your cycle include:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Significant weight loss along with over-exercising or disordered eating.
Excessive cortisol, the hormone produced by the body when under stress
Medical conditions include polycystic ovary syndrome, premature ovarian failure, pelvic inflammatory disease, and uterine fibroids.
The healthy cycle length is between 21-35 days with a period lasting between 2- 7 days. To start counting your cycle, start from day one of your period to the day before your next period starts. The menstrual cycle has different phases, all the different days are within the various phases and have different symptoms. The basics you need to know are the length of your cycle when you are fertile and factors that could affect your menstrual cycle.
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