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A beginners guide to the menstrual cycle

There are a few systems within your body that work together to bring you your period. 

The Uterine Cycle 

Think Uturus

  1. Period

  2. Proliferative

  3. Ovulation

  4. Secretory

The Ovarian Cycle

Think Ovaries

  1. Follicular 

  2. Ovulation 

  3. Luteal

FSH ​(Follicle Stimulating Hormone)

LH (Luteinizing Hormone)

Estrogen

Progesterone

Hormones

Eggs

You’re born with about a million eggs. This reserve in eggs declines as you grow older.

 

Once you start menstruating, your body begins a process of maturing these eggs.

 

Only a select few fully mature over your lifetime. During the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle, around 11 to 20 eggs begin developing, but only one is the most dominant.

The Uturine Cycle

This cycle physically changes your uterus.

Proliferative Phase*

Secretory Phase*

Period*

Day 1

Day 28

Ovulation* 

Day 14

Period:
The process in which your body disposes of the monthly build up of the lining of the uterus.

Proliferative Phase: The process in which the lining of the uterus proliferates (cells multiply and spread) to form a new layer of tissue in the uterus. 

Ovulation:
The process in which an egg is released from your ovaries. (peak pregnancy time) The egg flows down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.

Secretory Phase: 
The process in which the lining of your uterus starts to release chemicals. These chemicals aid the growth of a fertilized egg. If the egg is fertilized you skip your period. If the egg is not fertilized the lining is shed during your period.

The Ovarian Cycle

This cycle physically changes your ovaries 

Follicular Phase*

Luteal Phase*

Period

Day 1

Day 28

Ovulation*

Day 14

Follicular Phase:
This phase begins at the beginning of your period. Here, fluid-filled sacs in your ovaries called follicles house immature eggs. One of these follicles house the most dominant egg. That egg is released when ovulating.

Ovulation:
The process in which an egg is released from your ovaries. (peak pregnancy time)

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Luteal Phase:
The follicle that released the most dominant egg changes into a structure called a corpus luteum.

The corpus luteum produces important pregnancy hormones. If the egg does not get fertilized and you do not get pregnant, the corpus luteum dissappears and the uterine lining begins to shed.

If you do get pregnant the corpus luteum continues to release these pregnancy hormones for about 12 weeks. Those 12 weeks are the first trimester of pregnancy. 

HORMONES

FSH (Follicle Stimmulating hormone)

The brain puts out FSH to stimulate the egg to grow. This hormone is important for people trying to get pregnant. It recruits the mature egg every cycle. 

ESTROGEN

Helps to build the lining of your uterus. It rises and falls twice during your cycle, the first time about a week after your period and the second time a bout a week before your period
 

LH 

The hormone that triggers the release of an egg from your follicle. The release of the follicle is your period. 

PROGESTERONE

Progesterone is released by the ovary after ovulation. We make it to get our bodies ready for a baby. 

The hormones above go through stages of flow during your cycle affecting your mood, here is what that looks like!

Estrogen_edited.jpg

Day 1

Day 28

Day 14

Knowledge about hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle empowers you to comprehend your emotions, energy levels, and overall well-being. This awareness can aid in managing mood wings, optimizing fertility awareness, and navigating life changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Additionally, a deeper understanding of hormones fosters better communication with healthcare providers, facilitating personalized approaches to hormonal health. Overall, embracing hormonal literacy empowers women to make informed decisions about their physical and emotional health, fostering a sense of control and well- being. 

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