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What are the 4 Phases of Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is a natural and biological process of the female body playing a vital role in reproductive health. This cycle explains the monthly changes in the female body due to various hormones and glands. Proper understanding of this cycle is crucial for women to ensure their health and tackle potential problems. This blog will help dive into different phases, symptoms, and common menstrual cycle problems.

 What is Menstrual Cycle?

The monthly sequence of physiological changes that a woman's body experiences in preparation for the chance of pregnancy is known as her menstrual cycle. The cycle, which usually lasts 28 days but can last up to 35 days, is regulated by a sequence of hormonal changes. The first day of menstruation indicates the beginning of the cycle, that ends the day before the next period begins. 

An egg is developed and released into the ovaries during each menstrual cycle. At the same time, the uterine lining started building up. If the egg that has just entered into the ovaries gets fertilized by the sperm, pregnancy will be achieved, otherwise, the uterine lining starts shedding and the cycle resumes. 

Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is divided into four main phases:

  • Menstruation
  • The Follicular Phase
  • Ovulation
  • The Luteal Phase

Each phase is specified by different physiological processes and controlled by hormonal changes in the body. 


Menstruation also called a period, is the first stage in the menstrual cycle. The first day of menstruation begins the menstrual cycle. If the egg has not fertilized in the previous month, the uterus starts shedding its lining, resulting in menstrual bleeding. This phase lasts for 3 to 7 days. Menstruation happens once a month after every 28 to 30 days. 

Symptoms During Menstruation

Women may suffer from a range of symptoms throughout their menstrual cycle, including:

  • Lower back pain
  • Breast soreness
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Mood Swings
  • Abdominal Cramps

The severity and duration of these symptoms differ from person to person.

The Follicular Phase

Beginning on the first day of menstruation and lasting until ovulation is the Follicular Phase. Follicles in the ovaries develop and get ready to release an egg, which is why this phase is called the follicular phase. This phase lasts anywhere from 7 to 14 days on average.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is released by the pituitary gland which helps in the growth of ovarian follicles. During ovulation, one of these follicles will emerge as the dominant follicle and release the egg.

Symptoms During the Follicular Phase

Symptoms experienced during the follicular phase can include:

  • Clear Skin
  • Improve Mood
  • High Energy Levels
  • Increased Cognitive Functions

Around day 14 of a 28-day menstrual cycle, or halfway through, ovulation takes place. During ovulation, the egg is released by the mature follicular and, passes to the fallopian tube to finally fertilize by the sperm. 

The pituitary gland's production of luteinizing hormone (LH) spikes ovulation. This phase is important in the menstrual cycle as it is the only time when the egg is available for fertilization.  Ovulation only lasts for 12 to 24 hours. 

Symptoms During Ovulation

Ovulation can cause several symptoms in women, such as:

  • Increased libido
  • Increase in basal body temperature
  • Tenderness in breast
  • Pelvic and abdominal pain
  • Clear and egg-white discharge
The Luteal Phase

The luteal phase starts after ovulation and lasts until the beginning of the next cycle. In this phase, empty follicles develop into corpus luteum, which releases progesterone. Progesterone further thickens the uterus lining for the fertilized egg to be conceived. 

If the egg is not fertilized by this time, the corpus luteum will break down, causing a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. As a result, the uterus starts shedding its linings, indicating the beginning of menstruation. 

Symptoms During the Luteal Phase

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are frequently linked to the luteal phase and include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Peevishness
  • Bloating
  • Increase in weight
  • Mood Swings
  • Tender breast
  • Food cravings
When To See a Doctor

There are some cases where you should be conscious and need to see a doctor, 

  • Your periods are not regular.
  • Experience heavy bleeding between periods.
  • Bleed for more than 7 days.
  • Missed your periods or have stopped completely before menopause.
  • The interval between your periods is less than 21 days or more than 35 days. 

A multitude of hormonal changes and physiological processes are involved in the menstrual cycle.  Women can better manage their health and identify possible problems by becoming aware of the phases of the menstrual cycle and the symptoms associated with each phase. To successfully treat and manage menstruation difficulties, if they emerge, you must visit a healthcare expert.

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