The Menstrual phase is the start of the cycle and is measured from the first day of bleeding to the next first day of bleeding. It is cyclic taking on average 28 days but a woman can have a shorter or longer cycle.
The Follicular phase is the phase after the menstruation. It takes place from day 6 to day 14. During this time, the level of the hormone estrogen rises, which causes the wall of the uterus (endometrium) to grow and thicken. Another hormone known as Follicle Stimulating Hormone FSH causes follicles (sac containing an immature ovum/egg) in the ovaries to grow. During days 10 to 14, only one of the developing follicles will form a fully mature egg (ovum).
The Ovulation phase occurs roughly on day 14 in a 28 day menstrual cycle. An increase in the hormone known as Luteinizing Hormone LH causes the ovary to release the matured egg. This occurrence is referred to as ovulation. The matured released egg is now ready for fertilization
The Luteal phase lasts from about day 15 to day 28. After the egg is released from the ovary it travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The level of the hormone progesterone rises to help prepare the uterine wall for pregnancy. If the egg becomes fertilized by a sperm, it then attaches itself to the uterine wall and pregnancy occurs. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period.
If you have a cycle longer than 28 days, the ovulation day would be 14 days before the next period
Some causes for concern:
- Bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
- A cycle longer than 35 days or shorter that 21 days
- Bleeding that is heavier or lighter than usual
- Missing more than three periods in a row
- Cramping that puts you down
- Bleeding in between periods or after sexual intercourse
What may causes these abnormalities:
- Hormonal imbalance
- General illness
- A problem with the reproductive organs
- Change of environment
- Weight loss or gain
Consult with your doctor as soon as you see a change in your usual period.