Menstrual Cycle: Five Days or an Entire Month?
Many women get to adulthood without understanding their menstrual cycle; this leads most of the time to unexpected pregnancies or hormonal problems without knowing it.
By comprehending how menstruation works, you can easily identify your menstrual cycle. Thanks to this, any woman will be able to prevent a pregnancy, or by the contrary, get pregnant. But also, it allows us to identify anomalies or problems in our period. Here below we give a general explanation of what menstruation consists of and how to identify your menstrual cycle.
Menstruation is a complex process, but not difficult to understand; in basic words, menstruation is the process when the uterus expects a pregnancy, so its lining turns thick and the blood vessels get fuller. When pregnancy does not occur, these lining starts to shed plenty of blood. This is when the period starts; the bleeding usually ranges from 3 to 8 days.
A menstrual cycle can last from 21 to 35 days, being 28 the common standard. Menstrual cycles are counted from the first day of bleeding to the first day of the next period.
There are three main phases during the menstrual cycle that any woman should keep in mind just to have a wider understanding of how menstruation works.
- Follicular Phase; starts from day one of the periods and ends when ovulation starts. It can last 14 days; this phase basically consists of the active bleeding and the ovaries preparing to be fertile again. Thanks to the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, hormones help to create a mature egg that will then become mature, releasing it to the fallopian tubes. That is when the next phase begins.
- Ovulatory Phase; this phase occurs after day 14 once the egg is mature and released, so if there is any sperm present, it will get fertilized, if not, the egg will start to shed and the corpus luteum is produced.
- Luteum Phase; this happens after day 14 to say 28, if fertilization occurs, the progesterone hormones are produced so the lining does not shed. If not, progesterone decreases, and the lining starts shedding; the cycle starts all over again.
How to Identify my Menstrual Cycle?
Taking into account all we have explained, you can start counting from the first day of your period to the next. Different symptoms like cramps (dysmenorrhea), sensitive breasts, back pain, and others, start from 3 to 5 days before the period. Another aspect to take into consideration is the fluids you shed during the cycle; usually, when it gets thicker, it means you are in your ovulatory phase.
Understanding your menstrual cycle will also help you take measurements when your period is coming; a great element to use during these days is eco-friendly pads; these will improve the way you feel during your period by giving you all the comfort you need. Keep in mind to have a checkup at least twice a year with your gynecologist.