It bugs me how little I knew and understood about this topic before I was faced with a few years of infertility. So now, it's my mission to share my knowledge and make periods, and hormones and how a woman's body works 'girls night chatter'. I want to normalise it, free it from the world of taboos and empower women to understand and feel what's happening inside of them everyday!
They have labeled the menstrual cycle as a VITAL sign - like as helpful to doctor diagnoses as things like blood pressure, heath rates and breathing rates! INCREDIBLE!
So its pretty simple to understand. Although there is lots of detail to each area - but I won't bore you with that stuff.
There are two phase of the menstrual cycle - the FOLLICULAR and the LUTEAL phase.
Follicular phase runs from day 1 (the day you start bleeding) to day +-14 (when you ovulate). DISCLAIMER #1: Not everyone ovulates around day 14, I was a day 11 ovulator, so look for signs of ovulation - like a small pain over your ovary, an egg white type discharge or an increase in libido.
The the LUTEAL phase runs from ovulation day (around day 14) until the day before you start to bleed (around day 27). This is why 28 days is classified as a cycle. DISCLAIMER #2: We are not robots, so these numbers will be different for everyone - but you know what I mean.
So, a little more detail on each phase:
Follicular phase: As you period starts, hormones FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (Luteinizing hormone) are working in the background allowing the growth of your ovarian follicles and the maturing of one (or more) beautiful eggs, found inside the follicle. Oestradiol is a form of oestrogen and this queen Miss O, dominates this phase. She makes us feel sensual, as if we can conquer the world and horny to be honest. Once a beautiful egg is mature and ready to be released, LH causes it to burst from the follicle, causing ovulation. Oestrogen levels drop and this brings the end of this follicular phase.
Luteal phase: As that beautiful egg leaves the follicle, the follicle that is left behind on the surface of your ovary, turns into a yellow body called the corpus luteum. This acts like a temporary gland that releases progesterone. Mrs P (progesterone) is the dominate hormone of this phase - she can slow you down or make you want to comfort eat. If you don't fall pregnant, progesterone levels drop and you start bleeding and you begin the follicular phase again.
That is the menstrual cycle.
So important to our existence.