Explaining the Menstrual Cycle
How does it work? What’s happening in your body?
You are a cyclical being.
Your “period” is not just the shedding of blood, but is a part of a much larger cycle- your ovulation cycle (better known as your menstrual cycle)! (This is different from men who have a 24 hour hormonal cycle!)
When you begin charting and applying the Fertility Awareness method to your life, you begin to read the signs that point to health, and as an added bonus, are able to pinpoint your fertile days so you can either avoid or achieve pregnancy.
So what is the menstrual cycle? The basics are your hormones and phases of the cycle.
What hormones are largely at play?
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteineizing hormone (LH), Estrogen, and Progesterone.
What phases does your cycle consist of?
BLEED – aka your period. This is the shedding of the uterine lining because no egg implanted (making you pregnant).
FOLLICULAR PHASE (or pre-ovulation phase) – the build up to ovulation! Now is when the Follicle Stimulation Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) build so that ovulation may occur.
OVULATION – the release of an egg into your fallopian/uterine tubes. Estrogen is at its highest and your body is preparing to release an egg. You will see a build up in cervical mucus (the wet stuff you may see in your undies) in the follicular phase through ovulation.
LUTEAL PHASE (or post-ovulation phase) – the egg has dissolved and you are no longer fertile. Progesterone takes over.
A good thing to know is that the menstrual cycle consists of certain factors that will tell you if it is a healthy cycle, or if you need some help. Biomarkers like how heavy or light your bleed is, how long each phase is, and other things help give you this information.
If you are coming off of Hormonal Birth Control (HBC), your body is expelling the hormones and re-discovering itself. It will take time, for some women months, for your menstrual cycle to become regular again. And you know what? That is OKAY!