Childbirth is a complex process, and so are the menstruation cycle and the menstrual cycle phases. But understanding this can help you become more aware of your body as well as its processes. So, let's discover what goes on in a uterus during the menstruation cycle. And how do these processes help the female body to prepare for embracing motherhood?
What Do You Mean By Menstruation?
Menstruation is the medical or scientific term for period bleeding. In simple words, it is a body process in which the female body discards unfertilized eggs, blood, and debris of the uterine lining. This process is complex and is driven by different hormones during the menstrual cycle in the female body.
The menstrual cycle phases are a chain of hormonal and physiological changes that the female body goes through to maintain a healthy reproductive system. Hence, this complete process is the menstrual cycle. Because the process of carrying or nurturing life is complex, this key reproductive cycle is complex, too.
So, let's begin learning about the menstruation cycle & stages of the menstrual cycle in the next section with a basic overview of it.
Menstrual Cycle: What is it & How Does it Work?
To begin with, the menstruation cycle is a 28-day-long reproductive cycle that prepares the female body for conceiving. This cycle is responsible for keeping the female reproductive system fit for pregnancy. Beginning from discarding the released and unfertilized egg to repeating the cycle of preparing the uterus, this body process starts in the female body from the age of 11 and goes on till the age of 50.
Did You Know? The menstruation cycle is calculated taking into account the 1st day of bleeding of the month to the 1st day of bleeding of the next month. In simple words, the cycle maintains the fertility and health of women and is a key mechanism in childbirth. Each of the menstrual cycle phases holds significance because it plays a role in making the female body fit for nurturing life.
So, let's have a peek into the stages of menstrual cycle.
What are the Menstrual Cycle Phases?
The menstrual cycle takes place in four stages. It is followed by a 28-day menstrual cycle phases timeline that indicates a healthy reproductive system in women. The menstrual phases in chronological order are as follows:
1. The Menstruation Phase (Day 01 - 05)
Menstrual cycle phases begin with menstruation. This first phase of the cycle starts on day one and goes on till day 5. During this phase, the uterus lining and unfertilized egg shed through the vagina in the form of period blood.
Along with the breaking down of the uterine lining, there is fluctuation in the level of progesterone in the body. Apart from mucus discharge and bleeding, many women experience extreme cramps in the lower abdomen and mood swings. Altogether, in this menstruation stage, the body flushes out the waste and prepares for another cycle.
2. The Follicular Phase (Day 01 - 13)
This is one of the menstruation cycle phases that starts along with vaginal bleeding during menstruation. In this particular stage, the body and the pituitary gland prepare to release hormones during the menstrual cycle and stimulate follicle production. The follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH levels rise in this stage and support one of the eggs from the ovary to mature and start a new cycle.
On average, the body prepares to increase the estrogen levels to make the uterus lining thicker. This face lasts up to 16 days and allows the body to create an environment that is fit for embryo growth (creating ideal conditions for implantation and pregnancy).
3. The Ovulation Phase (Day 14)
The follicular phase of menstrual cycle is followed by the ovulation phase. In this face, the ovary releases a mature egg that travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. The release of the egg happens on day 14 of the menstruation cycle. This is one of the best menstruation cycle phases for conceiving.
It is one of the menstrual cycle phases where the body's pituitary glands release hormones that make this stage fit for getting pregnant. And the ovulation lasts from 16 to approximately 32 hours. However, the mature egg survives only for 24 hours. That's why keeping track of ovulation is helpful for people who intend to conceive.
4. The Luteal Phase (Day 15 - 28)
Last among the menstrual cycle phases is the luteal phase. In this stage, the level of progesterone in the body rises and helps to make the uterus lining thicker, specifically preparing it for the implantation of a fertilized egg. The corpus luteum reduces the level of estrogen so that the wall can be thick enough for pregnancy implantation.
This stage begins on day 15 and continues till the end of the cycle. In case the egg remains underutilized, the egg cells and the endometrium disintegrate. And that's how the body moves on to the next menstrual cycle phases. In a healthy or fertile female body, the menstrual cycle is completed within 28 or 29 days. However, certain factors and hormone disorders can alter the cycle and create complications for women.
So, let's get a quick view of the common disturbances that happen in the menstrual cycle phases timeline.
What are the Most Common Menstruation Problems?
Many women suffer from severe menstrual cycle phases symptoms due to irregular menstrual cycles and hormonal imbalances. Ranging from fluctuations in the physical body to facing mental stress, these problems can affect women in many ways. Given below is a list of common problems that either happen due to irregular periods cycles or hormonal imbalances:
1. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
This is the most common condition that women deal with in their menstruation phase. Before the menses bleeding, the hormonal changes in the body can trigger menstrual cycle phases symptoms like headache, water retention, and fatigue in women. Some women also experience painful cramps and irritability before the onset of periods of bleeding.
2. Irregular Periods
Irregular menstrual cycle phases can also be a problem for menstruating females. The regular period cycle is either 28 or 29 days, but certain medication and hormonal imbalances can stretch it more than the ideal timeline. Women with irregular period cycles experience other problems like severe cramps, disruption of the menstrual flow, and weakness.
There are other subcategories in irregular periods, which are:
- Amenorrhea: This is one of the most concerning menstrual problems for women. In this abnormal condition, women experience an absence of menstrual periods for days together. Absence of periods is normal during and around childbirth and after menopause.
- Oligomenorrhea: This is another type of menstrual problem in which women might have infrequent menses bleeding with really long gaps. This condition not only causes infertility in a couple of women but also leads to other problems because of hormone imbalance.
- Hypomenorrhea: This kind of abnormal bleeding is the term that describes excessive bleeding in women during the normal cycle duration. It can be the result of conditions like hyperthyroidism, PCOS, and even Asherman's syndrome. At times it can be tiring and life threatening for women.
- Dysmenorrhea: In this condition, the menstrual phases go well within the duration but cause extreme pain. All the other menstrual cycle phases symptoms of this problem are very much like regular periods, but the cramps in this condition are so extreme that they hinder the daily activities of women.
Each of the menstrual cycle phases is very different from one another. But overall, it supports the body and helps you understand more about taking care of yourself. So, we hope that this article has helped you understand your period cycle better. Now that you are familiar with your cycle, make sure that you are aware of the changes in your body.
And do consult a doctor whenever you come across any menstrual problem. With this information, you can save yourself from the complications of menstrual problems and avoid unwanted pregnancy. If you like to read articles that help you understand more about the female body and its processes, jump onto the The Voice of Woman home page.
Also Read :
- Antenatal Care During Pregnancy: An Essential Guide
- The Ultimate Guide to Tracking Ovulation Symptoms