Understanding Your Menstrual Period

22 August 2017
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Understanding Your Menstrual Period

menstrual period

One woman’s menstrual period is different from others; it is highly individual and the “normal” case is your own “normal.”

A cycle is the day 1 of the period to the day 1 of a woman’s next period. In an average, the menstrual cycle runs 28 days long.

In adults, the cycles may range from 21 days to 35 days, while in teens, it runs from 21 days to 45 days.

The exact length of the cycle is affected by several factors including illness, travel, stress, fertility medication, and even by close association with menstruating women.

In your lifetime, at different circumstances, your menstrual cycle will experience irregularities because of pregnancy, diet, stress, hormonal imbalance, illness, and exercise. 


What Is Menstruation?


Menstruation is the monthly bleeding that women experience. During menstruation, the body sheds the uterus’s lining.

The menstrual blood will then flow from the uterus, or womb, through the tiny opening of the cervix. It will exit the body by way of the vagina.

Menstrual periods, generally, last 3 to 5 days.  A regular menstrual period is termed menstrual cycle and is a sign that vital organs are working properly.


What are Hormones?


The cycle brings important systemic chemicals that are medically called hormones; they function to keep you healthy.

Each month, the hormones prepare the body for a possible pregnancy. The changing levels of hormones are the most important determining factor of the menstrual cycle.

Estrogen is the menstruation hormone, which plays a number of roles, including:

  • It plays a vital function of keeping women healthy, especially in building strong bones until the golden years.
  • Estrogen makes the uterus lining thicken. This same lining is the same area where embryos are nourished during pregnancy.

While the womb’s lining is growing, an ovum or egg starts to mature in either of the ovaries. At day 14, the egg then leaves the ovary; an event called ovulation.

When the egg leaves the ovary, it will then travel through the reproductive system’s fallopian tube and head straight to the uterus.

The hormone levels will rise to prepare the lining for a possible pregnancy. Most likely, a woman will get pregnant three (3) days prior to ovulation.


What are the Four (4) Phases of a Menstrual Cycle?


Bleeding Phase

The day 1 of the menstrual flow is the day 1 of the menstrual cycle. During this day, the hormone progesterone goes to a sudden low level causing a shedding off of the uterine lining, also known as “your period."

A woman’s energy is at its lowest during this day of the cycle; hence, symptoms like being withdrawn and tired are only normal.

Follicular Phase

The phase happens right after menstruation. During this time, the pituitary gland releases the Follicle Stimulating hormone that functions to stimulate the ovarian follicles.

These follicles actually carry the eggs. In this phase, the testosterone and estrogen also rise; boosting energy and improving the mood too.

Testosterone, on the other hand, stimulates the libido while the estrogen carries an extrovert personality effect.

Ovulatory Phase

Ovulation phase is the cycle’s culmination. During this time, an egg is released from the follicle in the ovary; surviving for 12-24 hours.

Both testosterone and progesterone rise to its peak levels, further boosting the phase’s effects.

A woman may realize that she looks and feels better so it is easier for her to express her feelings and thoughts during this phase. The sex drive is also at its highest during this time.

Luteal Phase

The first few days during this phase feels like experiencing the ovulatory phase. The changes that the declining levels of testosterone and estrogen become apparent.

Since progesterone is being produced in big amounts, so it is the best time to complete chores.

The remaining days of the phase are the most difficult for most women. PMS symptoms such as heavy cravings for comfort foods, headaches, bloating, moodiness, and anxiety are more likely to be felt.


What to Expect During the Entire Menstrual Cycle?


The hormonal lows and highs throughout the cycle explain why during some days you experience ecstasy and some other days you’re extremely down.

During the cycle’s first week, you may experience lower libido and less energy. If you are tired, get extra hours of sleep and spend more quality time with your husband if the libido is too low.

Cases of menstrual migraines are common too. Both progesterone and estrogen affect brain chemicals that are directly linked with headaches.

The drop in estrogen, which happens during ovulation may make worse episodes of headaches.

Birth control pills are potent in making the estrogen levels steady; hence, control the severity of headaches.



Understanding hormonal changes, which happen throughout the cycle and how it affects the way you feel including mood, libido, and energy, can aid in preparing for the lows and highs.

Eventually, you will learn to ride the waves of hormonal changes instead of getting crushed by its symptoms.


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