Female Reproductive System (cont.)
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What Happens During the Menstrual Cycle?
Females of reproductive age experience cycles of hormonal activity that repeat at about one-month intervals. With every cycle, a woman's body prepares for a potential pregnancy, whether or not that is the woman's intention. The term menstruation refers to the periodic shedding of the uterine lining. (Menstru means "monthly"; hence the term menstrual cycle.)
The average menstrual cycle takes about 28 days and occurs in phases: the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase (ovulation), and the luteal phase.
There are four major hormones (chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of cells or organs) involved in the menstrual cycle: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone.
Follicular Phase of the Menstrual Cycle
This phase starts on the first day of your period. During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, the following events occur:
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