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Your Period

The Phases of the Menstrual Cycle


Updated May 16, 2014


LifeART (and/or) MediClip image copyright 2008

Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.- Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

Your menstrual cycle is the basics of your reproductive health. Every month your body goes through two main phases to complete the cycle and begin again. These are the Follicular Phase and the Luteal Phase.

Follicular Phase
From the start of your menstrual flow is the follicular or proliferative phase. There are several thing that happen during this phase, including:

  • Uterus sheds the lining from the previous cycle.

  • Estrogen and progesterone rise after lining is shed.

  • Follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) encourages follicular maturation in your ovaries.

  • Your uterine lining begins to regrow in anticipation of pregnancy.

This portion of your menstrual cycle usually lasts an average of 10-14 days.

Luteal Phase

  • Ovulation occurs with a surge in the lutenizing hormone (LH).

  • The egg will travel to the nearest Fallopian tube in hopes of fertilization.

  • LH helps the corpus luteum to develop from the follicle where the egg was released.

  • The corpus luteum produces progesterone.

  • Progesterone and estrogen help the endometrium, or uterine lining, thicken and create a source of blood flow to accept a fertilized egg.

  • If fertilization does not occur, the corpus luteum withers causing a drop in the estrogen and progesterone, signaling your menses (your period) to begin again.

This phase of the menstrual cycle typically last 14 days.

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