Phases of the menstrual cycle: luteal, follicular, menstrual and ovulation phases. What are the symptoms, how long they last and what are the fertile stages
Stages of the menstrual cycle
If you are trying to get pregnant it is important to learn about your body, the rhythms and the functioning of the reproductive system, to understand when the fertile days arrive and to concentrate sexual relations in what is called a fertile window. So let’s see what the different ones are phases of the menstrual cycle.
In this article
Duration of the menstrual cycle
Each month, until menopause, the female body experiences a series of changes which are used to prepare him for a possible pregnancy. This whole series of events is called the menstrual cycle. During the cycle the ovaries release an egg that travels along the fallopian tubes where, if it encounters a sperm, it is fertilized, otherwise it flakes off, along with the uterine lining that was prepared to accommodate the embryo, and menstruation occurs. .
At this point it all starts again.
The menstrual cycle is divided into four stages and the duration of each phase can vary from woman to woman and can change with advancing age. In many cases it tends to merge into a single phase is that of menstruation and that of the follicles.
- menstrual phase (menstruation)
- follicular phase
- ovulatory phase
- luteal phase.
That menstrual and the first phase of the menstrual cycle and coincides with the days of menstruation. It begins when an egg from the previous cycle is not fertilized: at this point the hormone levels estrogen and progesterone decrease, the uterine lining that had become thicker to accommodate adequate, the embryo eventually fertilized is no longer of any use and flakes off and a combination of tissue, blood and mucus is expelled with menstruation. The classic and most common menstrual symptoms I’m:
- mood swings;
- low back pain.
How long does the menstrual phase last?
There menstrual phase lasts on average between 3 and 7 days.
There follicular phase begins on first day of the cycle, therefore coincides with menstruation, and ends with theovulation. This phase begins when the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland in order to release thefollicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone stimulates the ovaries to produce small pouches called follicles.
Each follicle contains an immature egg. Typically only one egg will mature (although it can happen that you have a double ovulation), the rest of the follicles will then be reabsorbed. In this follicular phase the levels of estrogen increase and this causes a thickening of the lining walls of the uterus in order to create an environment suitable for the growth of the embryo.
When does the follicular phase last?
The follicular phase lasts on average about 16 days, but depending on the cycle length it can vary.
Which day to consider as the first of the cycle?
The cycle begins with the bleeding of menstruation, which should also be considered as the first day of the follicular phase.
The increase in estrogen during the follicular phase causes the pituitary gland to release the luteinizing hormone (LH) and this initiates the ovulation process. At this moment, therefore, a ovum matures in the follicle and is then released. The egg travels along the fallopian tube to the uterus to be fertilized.
It is important to know what the ovulation stage is the only time in the entire menstrual cycle when it is possible to get pregnant.
The ovum, in fact, survives about 24 hours after which it will no longer be fertilizable. Fortunately, the spermatozoa have a longer life and can survive up to 4 or 5 days, so there is not only a useful day to get pregnant, but a fertile period that includes the days immediately preceding ovulation and the day of ‘ ovulation.
How long does the ovulatory phase last?
There are several methods to calculate ovulation, such as keeping track of basal temperature, consistency and changes in the cervical mucus: in a menstrual cycle lasting an average of 28 days, ovulation will occur around the 14th day.
After the follicle has released its egg, it turns into the corpus luteum and the luteal phase begins.
This structure releases several hormones, mainly progesterone and estrogen which serve to keep the uterine lining thick and welcoming.
If conception has taken place the organism will begin to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the most famous pregnancy hormone, the one that is detected by the municipalities home pregnancy tests. The Beta Hcg hormone serves to keep the corpus luteum and uterine lining thick.
In case of failure to conceive, the corpus luteum will be reabsorbed and progesterone and estrogen will drop dramatically: a series of cascading events that will lead to the onset of subsequent menstruation.
How long does the luteal phase last?
The luteal phase lasts from 11 to 17 days, but the average duration is 14 days.