Introducing the four phases of the menstrual cycle
Did you know the menstrual cycle is more than just your period!?
In fact, the menstrual cycle is made up of four hormonal phases, across two halves, with the main event occurring in-between - ovulation! On average the length of a cycle length is 28days, and yet it is normal to have a cycle length between 24 to 35 days.
The first half, the follicular phase is considered the first day of your period up until ovulation. Within this half, is the menstruation phase and the pre-ovulation phase.
The menstruation phase marks the beginning of your menstrual cycle, as observed by day one of your bleed (full flow, not including spotting) and each day you are bleeding.
Whereas the pre-ovulation phase begins when you finish bleeding. During this phase oestrogen is steadily rising and ovarian follicles are being stimulated as your body starts to prepare for ovulation. Although you may start off dry you may begin to notice an increase in wetness as you approach ovulation.
Ovulation phase is considered the main event of the menstrual cycle, whereby oestrogen has peaked, and with the help of testosterone the ovary will release a mature egg. You may notice egg-white cervical fluid during this time.
Following ovulation you enter the second half of your cycle, the luteal phase. The luteal phase begins the day after ovulation until the day before your next period.
Post-ovulation you enter the pre-menstruation phase of your cycle, whereby the hormone progesterone will be released causing the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels drop and the uterine lining begins to breakdown and shed (your period begins again).
The preceding text is taken from Embrace Your Flow, a beginner's guide to menstrual cycle awareness and cyclical living - you can access and download the full guide here.
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