The Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle


The Phases of Your Cycle.

When people think about their period cycle, they only think about the days when we bleed 🩸 and the pain that goes with it. In reality our cycle is active all the time and goes in phases, very similar to the moon🌙. 

There are actually four phases: 

The Menstrual Phase 🩸
The Follicular Phase 🌸
Ovulation 🥚
The Luteal Phase 🌝

If you’re new to periods, a mum with a pre-teen daughter or just want to know more, here’s the latest on each cycle to help you #ownyourcycle

Let’s start with phase one ☝️

The Menstrual Phase 🩸

The menstrual phase is the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

It starts with our period.  An egg from the previous cycle isn’t fertilized and our hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to drop. 

Of course this phase doesn’t even start if we fall pregnant.

The thickened lining of our uterus is no longer needed, so it naturally sheds. That’s why we bleed 🩸 during this phase.

These are some of the normal things that happen to us:

🌱Bloating

🌱Cramping

🌱Headaches

🌱Dizziness 

🌱Lower back pain 

🌱Changes in mood 

🌱Digestive and gut health issues

In the first half of this week when estrogen is at its lowest we’re more inclined to stay at home. You may feel depressed or even anxious, it’s OK that’s normal too.  

The Follicular Phase 🌸

This phase actually starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation – so yes, there’s overlap with the phases.

Our hormones stimulate our ovaries to produce around five to 20 follicles (1).

Each follicle contains an immature egg. Generally, only one follicle will mature into an egg. This egg will mature while the rest of the follicles are absorbed back into the body.

During this phase the body releases extra estrogen. This stimulates the uterine lining to thicken. The thickened lining is designed to provide the necessary nutrients, preparing the body should there be a pregnancy.

Get ready for:

🌱 More Energy

🌱 Increased sex drive 🏩

The follicular phase typically lasts around 10–16 days and ends when we ovulate…

Phase 3 Ovulation 🥚

Ovulation is when a mature egg from the ovary is released. This is a big deal and why so many of us take Khapregesic for mid-cycle ovulation pain as well.

Our ovulation time will differ slightly based on the length of our cycle. This usually occurs mid-cycle, around two weeks (Day 12-16) or so before our 🩸 starts.

The egg release is triggered by high levels of LH (3) a hormone generated in the follicular phase. The egg is sent into the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

The life span of a typical egg is only around 24 hours. Unless it meets a sperm during this time, it will die.

If you’re trying for a baby, you can improve the chances of conception if you are aware of when you ovulate. That’s your fertile window and why we have an increased sex drive at this time. 

What’s going on during ovulation:

🌱 Breast pain

🌱 Increased sex drive 🏩

🌱 Increase in vaginal discharge

🌱 Light but sometimes heavy cramping

This is also a time where we might feel more social and more active💃🏻

Lastly, The Luteal Phase 🌝

This is the time between ovulation and before the start of menstruation, when our bodies prepare for possible pregnancy. The phase begins as the egg starts traveling down the fallopian tube. If the egg comes into contact with sperm it can be fertilized, becoming a corpus luteum.

If you are not pregnant, the corpus luteum dies becoming a tiny piece of scar tissue. If you are pregnant your body will start producing HCG which helps maintain the corpus luteum.

During this phase the hormone progesterone is produced, peaks, and then drops. This hormonal change can make us feel quite tired. This phase ends when our next period begins.

The hormonal changes during this phase are associated with these common premenstrual symptoms:

🌱 Mood change/PMS anxiety

🌱 Brain Fog

🌱 Fatigue, headaches

🌱 Bloating

🌱 Breast tenderness

This is why, if we’re not trying to conceive, we start taking Khapregesic 2-3 days before our period 🩸 begins. For most of us Khapregesic helps to reduce these PMS symptoms as well as the cramping pain.

A final word

It’s important to normalise menstruation into everyday conversation. Once we know more about our cycle we can track our symptoms, reduce our anxiety and more importantly, plan our social calendar – ovulation is when we can head out for a sneaky ‘margarita’ 😉

 

Note: If your pain symptoms are severe and go beyond your period, please talk to your health professional without delay.

Sources:

(1) https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/menstrual-cycle

(2) https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/stages-of-menstrual-cycle#menstrual

(3) LH – Luteinising Hormone