If we study the Menstrual Cycle, the Menstrual Cycle is a complex cycle, and different glands of our body control it. It is also controlled by the hormones which these glands produce. There are 4 phases that the menstrual cycle includes….these are Menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. Heavy pains, painful periods, and cramps are the most common problems of Menstruation. The average length of this cycle varies from 27 to 29 days…the length of our ovarian cycle is calculated from the 1st day of our periods. The average age at which girls start having periods is from 11 to 14 years. Let’s talk about hormones and the menstrual cycle. There is a brain structure known as the hypothalamus. This causes the nearby pituitary gland to produce certain types of chemicals. In the menstrual cycle, each gland is affected by the activity of other ones…Now let’s discuss the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle. The first one is Menstruation.
It is the removal of the thickened lining of the uterus from the body. The removal is done through the vagina. Menstrual blood contains three things- blood, mucus, and cells from the lining of the uterus. The average duration of periods is between 3 days to one week. Sanitary pads and Menstrual cups are used to absorb the flow of blood. They need to be changed after regular intervals of time…at least after every 4-5 hours.
It starts on the first day of your period…and it ends with ovulation. The pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormones. This is the hormone that stimulates the ovary to produce around 5 to 20 follicles. Each follicle houses an immature egg. One follicle matures into an egg when the other one dies. This can happen around day 10 of a 28-day circle. The growth of these follicles stimulates the lining of the uterus too thick in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
This is the release of a mature egg. The release is from the surface of the ovary. This usually occurs around two weeks before menstruation. During the follicular phase, the developing follicle causes a rise in the level of estrogen. A hypothalamus in our brain recognizes these rising levels, and it releases a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It is a chemical, and this hormone prompts the pituitary gland to produce raised levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). In two days, ovulation is triggered by high levels of LH. The egg is filtered into the fallopian tube and then towards the uterus. The lifespan of a typical egg is most probably around 24 hours. Unless it meets a sperm through this time, it will die.
During the process of ovulation, the egg bursts from its follicle. But the cracked follicle stays on the surface of the ovary.
For the next two weeks or so, the follicle changes into a structure called the corpus luteum. This structure releases progesterone with small amounts of estrogen. A combination of hormones maintains the thick lining of the uterus. It waits for the egg to stick. In case a fertilized egg implants the lining of the uterus, it produces hormones. They are necessary to maintain the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum keeps producing high levels of progesterone needed to maintain the thick line of the uterus. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the corpus luteum dries up and dies. This usually happens around day 22 or 23 in a 28 days period. The drop in progesterone levels causes the uterus to drop away. This is called mensuration. This cycle repeats again and again.
Common Menstrual Problems
Common menstrual problems include-:
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Heavy Menstrual bleeding
So these were the essential stages of the ovarian cycle. Now, if you face any problem in any of the stages, you must visit your doctor.