The menstrual cycle is the series of monthly changes that occurs in the female body in preparation for a possible pregnancy. Each month one egg is released from the female ovary through a process called ovulation. At the same time, various types of hormones in the female body are releases that prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg is fertilized by the male sperm then it’s ok but if not then the lining of the uterus sheds and the female menstruate through the vagina a part of the female reproductive system.
Menstrual cycle phases
The menstrual cycle is either classified into three stages or four stages. In this article, we will classify it into four phases that are
1. Menstrual phase
2. Follicular phase
3. Ovulation phase
4. Luteal phase
These phases are an important part of female life and it is necessary for a female to know these stages so females know what to expect.
The menstrual phase also called your periods is the official start of the menstrual cycle. In Menstrual phase, the blood comes out of the body. This blood comes from shedding of the uterine lining. The blood goes from the uterus to the cervix and to the vagina and finally comes out of the body through the vaginal opening.
The menstrual phase usually lasts three to seven days. The average menstrual flow excreted from your body is about a quarter of a cup.
The follicular phase is the phase in which the body prepares itself for pregnancy each month. The first step in the follicular phase is that the estrogen hormones cause the thickening of the uterus. The second step is that follicle stimulating hormones stimulate ovarian follicles to grow. The follicle contains an egg. In the follicular phase, the estrogen levels rise dramatically.
The surge in the estrogen hormones triggers the luteinizing hormones. The luteinizing hormones make a follicle rupture and release an egg. The time of ovulation depends on the length of the menstrual cycle. if you have a 28-day cycle then the ovulation usually occurs on day 14 but it might be different in some females because of the number of days in the menstrual cycle.
Ovulation is the process that occurs during the prenatal development in which an egg is released. The egg goes into the fallopian tube and then into the uterus. As the egg goes through the fallopian tube the uterus becomes thicker. The egg waits for the sperm in the fallopian tube for about 24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized then it will start degeneration.
After the process of ovulation, the luteal phase begins in which the empty follicle from which egg is released turned into another structure called corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes estrogen and a large number of progesterone hormones. The progesterone hormones stimulate your uterine lining for a fertilized egg.
Here two process can happen it depend on the egg. If the egg is fertilized it will go the uterus and attached to it but if fertilization does not happen the uterine line starts shedding and your period start and new menstrual cycle begin.
Menstrual cycle phases features
1. Menstrual bleeding. Necrosis and shedding of the endometrium associated with bleeding.
2. Follicular phase. Regeneration of the endometrium.
3. Ovulation phase. The endometrium becomes thick and soft and egg is released.
4. Luteal phase. Ischemia of endometrium because of the reduced blood circulation. Cramping, and external spotting of blood are also the characteristic of the luteal phase.
What is a normal menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is counted from the day 1 of one cycle to day 1 of another cycle. The menstrual cycle is not the same for every female. In females, long cycles are common for the first few years after menstruation. However, the cycles become shorten and regular as you age.
The menstrual cycle may be regular or irregular. Regular cycles are those cycles that have the same length every month. Irregular cycles are those when your periods might be light or heavy or painful or long or short. In a broad sense normal is what’s normal for you.
Many drugs such as birth control pills etc can also alter the cycles.
When a female reaches the menopause stage the menstrual cycle becomes irregular again. Keep in mind that the risk of uterine cancer increases as you age therefore if you have any abnormal bleeding then see the doctor.
Tracking of the menstrual cycle
To track your cycles and want to find what normal for you then record your cycles on a calendar. Record the beginning dates your cycles for several months and identifies the regularity of your periods.
If you are not satisfied with this then also record the following things in your cycles
1. The end date of the menstrual cycle
2. The flow of the blood
3. Abnormal bleeding
5. Other changes that occur in the body during the menstrual cycle.
Irregular menstrual cycles
1.Hypomenorrhea. Less blood flow during the menstrual period.
2. Menorrhagia. Profuse blood flow during the menstrual period.
3. Metrorrhagia. Bleeding between your menstrual cycles.
4. Oligomenorrhea. Lower life expectancy frequency of menstrual cycles.
What is Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the lack of menstruation. It may be of two types a.primary and b. secondary.
1. primary Amenorrhea. it is the condition in which menstrual bleeding does not occur after the age of 16.
2. secondary Amenorrhea. it is the stoppage of menstrual cycles with normally occurring menstrual cycles before.
What causes menstrual cycle irregularities?
The irregularities in the menstrual cycles may occur due to the following causes
1. Pregnancy or breastfeeding.
2. Eating diseases
3. Extreme weight loss
4. Excessive exercising
5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
6. premature ovarian failure
7. Pelvic inflammatory disease
8. Uterine fibroid.
When to see a doctor?
Consult your doctor if you have the following problems
1. Periods stop for more than 90days and you are not pregnant.
2. The erratic period after having been regular
3. Bleeding for more than 7 days
4. Periods, less than 21 days
5. Periods, more than 35 days
6. Bleeding between the cycles.
7. Severe pain
8. Fever and feel sick after using a tampon.