The menstrual or female sexual cycle is the process by which the female gametes (ovules) develop. In this period, a series of changes also take place that prepare the woman's uterus, in order to allow a possible pregnancy.
The start of the cycle is defined as the first day of menstruation and the end of the cycle is the day before the start of the next period. Average cycle length is 28 days, although it can be longer or shorter. Cycles ranging from 21 to 35 days are considered normal.
The menstrual cycle is characterized by having two very different phases:
- The first part of the cycle: It goes from the first day of menstruation to day 14. The most obvious event is the appearance of desquamation of the superficial layer of the uterus or endometrium, as spotting (rule), if there has been no fertilization and therefore pregnancy.
- The second part of the cycle: It goes from 15 to 28. In this stage, the changes that take place suppose the appearance of a certain state of weakness.
Are menstrual cycles always the same? The first two or three years of menstruation, it is normal for cycles to be somewhat irregular. After this period, the cycles tend to become more regular and, in general, after the first delivery, the cycles tend to stabilize until they reach 40-45 years. From this age on, the cycles will become irregular again before the menopausal period (or absence of menstruation) appears. As we said, the normal thing is that the cycles are 28 days, but a few days or so are considered normal.
However, each woman is different, and even the same woman can have variations in her cycles: sometimes situations of stress, malnutrition, certain diseases, obesity or very strong emotions can hormonally alter the woman and affect the menstrual cycle.
The amount of bleeding varies greatly from woman to woman. Typically, 70% of losses occur during the first two days of the rule, and in the last days, we observe the amount of loss decreasing.
This first phase of the cycle is orchestrated by estrogens, and we know that during this phase the ovum has just matured and is expelled from the ovary. That expulsion is ovulation. The egg begins to travel through the fallopian tube leading to the uterus. Around these days, if a sperm fertilizes an egg and it attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, a pregnancy begins.
The first week, defenses and energy suffer, while the period frees us from the uncomfortable fluid retention of the previous days. The last days of your period are ideal to start a diet. The second week is characterized by a tremendous rush of energy. Estrogens improve the quality of our skin and hair. Hyperactivity is reflected in that we tire less and perform more. Ovulation is near and libido is skyrocketing. During these days it is easier to get aroused and reach orgasm.
During this second phase (from day 15-28), the changes that occur suppose the appearance of a certain state of weakness. Progesterone begins to take a leading role, the elevation of which begins 2-3 days after ovulation.
In the third week of the menstrual cycle, progesterone makes us nervous, dries out the skin and encourages us to eat more: we can take advantage of it to practice our favorite sport and release tension and endorphins. And it is that, until we get the period, progesterone takes over our body.
The fourth week and last week of the cycle, premenstrual syndrome can cause distress and physical decline. The accumulation of fluids can make us gain a few pounds and cause some digestive discomfort such as a feeling of heaviness, bloating, nausea or constipation.
Fortunately, the arrival of the period leads to the disappearance of these annoyances so they are a relief. The period is the starting point of the next cycle ... unless you get pregnant!
You can read more articles similar to The menstrual cycle and fertility of women, in the category of On-site fertility problems.