Periods... ugh. Need I say more? The menstrual cycle, however useful it is, often is the bane of our existence as women. But will understanding how it works make us slightly more forgiving? Well it can’t hurt to try!
The menstrual cycle begins with the follicular phase, where the follicle (egg) is developed. During this phase Estradiol and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) rise, whilst Progesterone and Lutenizing Hormone (LH) remain steadily low.
Next is the ovulation phase. During this phase, LH and FSH have a sharp peak and Estradiol a sharp drop while Progesterone slowly rises. The change in these hormones is what causes the egg to be released from the ovary (ovulation).
Then we have the luteal phase. This is where LH and FSH drop off and progesterone peaks. This causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for implantation of the egg.
And finally, the menstrual phase (AKA your period), which is where the lining of the uterus sheds away if the fertilised egg does not implant in the uterus. This is stimulated by a drop in all of the hormones.
A normal menstrual cycle is anywhere from 21 to 35 days in length, however not all women have regular cycles.
Most women will get some pre-menstrual symptoms, more commonly known as PMS. These include, cravings, bloating, abdominal cramping, skin breakouts and the oh too famous mood swings. Hands up those who have experienced these awful symptoms 🙋🏼♀️ well don’t worry, you’re not alone! Just remember when you’re experiencing PMS that your girlfriends probably are too, so huddle together hot packs and chocolate in hand and brave the menstrual cycle together!