Many of us are well aware that the day you start your period is the first day of your menstrual cycle. What a lot of us don't know is that there are actually four phases your body goes through beginning on that day. After all, this thing is called a cycle for a reason, right?
While we've simplified these phases into a few bullets, remember menstruation is a natural and extremely complicated process. It's important to us that you have an overview and general understanding of what's happening to your body and when. Knowing this information, even if just a general understanding, is your power as a woman equipping you with the tools to maximize your potential every area of your life.
If you're seeking a detailed explanation about the four phases of the menstrual cycle, please consult your physician or health care provider.
Menstrual Phase (Day 1-5)
The uterus sheds its inner lining and blood vessels resulting in menstrual fluid
Cramping can occur due to contractions in the uterus helping your uterus to shed the lining
You will lose up to 3 ounces of blood during this phase
Follicular Phase (Day 1-13)
*NOTE: this phase also begins on day one of your menstrual cycle but ends on the 13th day
Your pituitary gland releases Follicle Stimulating Hormone which stimulate an egg cell in your ovaries to grow and mature
It takes up to 13 days for the eggs to mature
At the same time, the uterus begins to form a new endometrium to prepare for pregnancy
Ovulation (Day 14)
Luteal Phase (Day 15-28)
Your body starts producing progesterone
If the egg gets fertilized, it will attach itself to the endometrium and pregnancy begins
If the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium will begin to break down