The Basics About Your Menstrual Cycle

Women know their individual bodies best, but it isn’t uncommon to be unaware of many things concerning the menstrual cycle. Your entire cycle is a good indicator of your health; your period is only part of that, but it is the part most women are familiar with. Here is (almost) everything you should know about your cycle.

The basics of your menstrual cycle

Your cycle begins on the first day of your period. Throughout the month (or a span of 24 and 38 days) your body will produce different amounts of hormones to prepare itself for pregnancy. You may experience varying symptoms throughout your cycle, and they will change as you age.

The state of your health can also affect your cycle and create changes. It is common for women to catch these changes during their period. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Acne breakouts
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Breast pain
  • Mood changes

Menstrual cycles consist of two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. During the follicular phase (which is usually around 12-14 days), your body produces more estrogen which prepares for ovulation. The luteal phase comes next and can last 10–14 days. During this phase, the amount of progesterone in your body increases to help you prepare for pregnancy.

What happens during menstruation

Your period (also called menstruation) is the start of your cycle when your body sheds unused uterine lining. This lining (which is made up of blood and tissue) builds up to support a baby. When you do not become pregnant, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop and you start your period.

A typical period may last between three and seven days. It’s important to remember, though, that not everyone’s cycle is the same. Yours may be slightly shorter or longer than average, depending on your individual body and lifestyle.

The ovulation process

Your menstrual cycle is determined by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones work together to create a natural process called ovulation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of your ovaries. This process usually happens in the middle of your menstrual cycle, around day 14.

The ovary that releases the egg is called the dominant ovary. The other ovary will release an egg later in your cycle if you don’t become pregnant the first time. Each month, around 20-30 eggs start to grow in your ovaries, but only one will be released.

The egg is released when the follicle (a structure that holds the egg) ruptures. The follicle ruptures because of a surge in LH (luteinizing hormone), which is produced by the pituitary gland. LH triggers the release of the egg and the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum (the remains of the ruptured follicle).

How you can know you are ovulating

Many women know when they are ovulating because they experience a change in their bodies. However, there are some methods of tracking ovulation that can be helpful.

The most common way to track ovulation is by feeling your body temperature. Your temperature will rise slightly after you ovulate as a result of the increase in progesterone. You can also track changes in your cervical mucus, which will become thicker and more opaque as you approach ovulation. Some women use fertility monitors to help them track their cycle too.

How you track your menstrual cycle

Tracking your menstrual cycle is the best way to understand how it works and predict when it’s going to arrive each month. Use these tips to help you track your cycle!

  • Mark down when your period starts and ends.
  • Note any changes or unusual symptoms.
  • Track your cervical mucus consistency (which can tell you when ovulation is near).
  • Chart any other information that helps you better understand yourself.

Keeping a journal or using an app are both good ways to keep track of your cycle data on a regular basis so that you can look back at patterns over time. These tools can also be helpful when speaking to your doctor so you can refer back to your records.

Why understanding your cycle is important

Knowing and understanding your menstrual cycle can help you monitor your overall health and fertility. It can also give you clues about when to expect PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms. Being aware of these changes in your body will help you make better choices when it comes to diet, exercise, contraception, and any other issues related to your reproductive health. Understanding the basics of your menstrual cycle is a great step in self-care.

What if something seems abnormal?

If you notice any changes in your menstrual cycle that are out of the ordinary, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider. They can help you figure out what is causing these changes and provide advice on how to keep your body healthy.

Understanding the basics of your menstrual cycle can help you make informed decisions about your reproductive health. With this knowledge, you will be better equipped to prepare for pregnancy and potentially catch health issues earlier.

How birth control can affect your menstrual cycle.

There are many different types of birth control available, and each one can have a different effect on your menstrual cycle.

It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about any changes in your menstrual cycle that you notice after starting a new form of birth control. If you experience any uncomfortable symptoms, be sure to talk with your doctor about those as well.

Want to learn more about your menstrual cycle?

At Women’s Healthcare Associates in Amarillo, our mission is to provide you with the best experience in women’s healthcare. Our Staff offers personal care that focuses on the health and well-being of our patients as individuals.

Our Services include prenatal care, digital mammography, bone density screening, ultrasounds, lab work, contraception, menopause treatments, and much more. To learn more about how our comprehensive women’s healthcare can help you, please give us a call at (806) 355-6330!

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Amarillo, TX 79106

Phone: (806) 355-6330

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© Women'Healthcare Associates 2017 - All rights reserved
Website design and marketing by UCI Digital