The menstrual cycle has three phases based on the timing of release of the egg (ovum):
- Follicular phase: Before the release of the egg; menstrual bleeding occurs during this phase.
- Ovulation phase: Egg is released.
- Luteal phase: After the egg is released.
Typically, the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is anywhere between 25-36 days. Only 10%-15% of women have menstrual cycles that are exactly 28 days.
The menstrual cycle begins with menstrual bleeding (menstruation), which marks the first day of the follicular phase and is counted as day one of the menstrual cycle.
What happens during the follicular phase?
- Menstrual bleeding: Menstrual bleeding marks the beginning of the follicular phase, where the body sheds the innermost layers of the uterine wall (endometrium).
- Development of follicles: This is the main event of the follicular phase that starts after menstruation ends:
- Production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases. This hormone stimulates the growth of 3-30 follicles in the ovary. Each follicle contains an egg.
- Later, FSH levels decrease as only one follicle, which is the dominant follicle, grows and produces estrogen and the other follicles break down. Estrogen helps prepare the uterus for any pregnancy that ensues.
- Duration: The average duration of the follicular phase is about 13-14 days. It varies considerably from woman to woman and tends to become shorter when a woman approaches menopause.
What happens during the ovulation phase?
- Surge of luteinizing hormone and release of the egg: The surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) marks the beginning of the ovulatory phase. LH stimulates the dominant follicle to finally rupture and release the egg.
- Fertilization: If the egg is released when sperm are in the reproductive tract, fertilization can occur.
- Mittelschmerz: Some women feel a dull ache in the lower side of their abdomen, which is a pain known as Mittelschmerz that lasts anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.
- Duration: The ovulatory phase usually lasts anywhere between 16-32 hours.
What happens during the luteal phase?
- Formation of the corpus luteum and fertilization: If the egg gets fertilized, the ruptured follicle forms a structure called the corpus luteum. This corpus luteum secretes progesterone, which helps implant the fertilized ovum (embryo) in the uterus. Successful implantation of the embryo results in pregnancy.
- Thickening of the endometrium: High estrogen levels during the luteal phase stimulate the endometrium to thicken so that the uterus is strong enough to hold the growing embryo (fetus).
- Degeneration of the corpus luteum: If the egg remains unfertilized or the fertilized egg does not get implanted in the uterus, the corpus luteum degenerates after 14 days. Levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to decrease.
- Duration: The luteal phase begins after ovulation and lasts about 14 days in the absence of fertilization. It ends just before the next menstrual period.
Female Reproductive Endocrinology. https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-in/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/female-reproductive-endocrinology/female-reproductive-endocrinology
Top Follicular Phase of the Menstrual Cycle Related Articles
acetaminophen/pamabromAcetaminophen/pamabrom is a combination medication available over the counter (OTC), used for the temporary relief of menstrual symptoms (menstrual cramps, backache, headache, other minor pains, and bloating). Common side effects of acetaminophen/pamabrom include hives (urticaria), itchy rash, hypersensitivity reactions, toxicity to the liver (hepatotoxicity), blood disorders, and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
acetaminophen/pamabrom/pyrilamineAcetaminophen/pamabrom/pyrilamine is a combination medication available over the counter (OTC), used for the temporary relief of menstrual symptoms, including cramps, backache, headache, bloating, water-weight gain, minor aches and pains, muscular aches and irritability. Do not take concurrently or within 14 days after treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) type of antidepressant medications. Acetaminophen side effects include hives (urticaria), itchy rash, swelling, severe anaphylaxis-like allergic reaction (anaphylactoid reaction), blood disorders, and others. Pamabrom side effects include discolored urine (golden tinted). Pyrilamine side effects include blurred vision, sleepiness (sedation), and dry mouth (xerostomia).
black cohoshBlack cohosh is an herbal remedy used to relieve menopausal symptoms, treat menstrual irregularities, induce labor, and treat other conditions including cough, fever, rheumatoid arthritis, and musculoskeletal pain. Common side effects of black cohosh include nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, weight gain, feeling of heaviness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, shortness of breath, slow heart rate (bradycardia), central nervous system (CNS) disturbances, headache, dizziness, rash, sweating, cramping, joint pains, tremors, and visual disturbances. Black cohosh may cause uterine contractions and lead to miscarriage or premature labor. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.
celecoxib (Celebrex)Celecoxib (Celebrex - Discontinued Brand) is a NSAID (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug) that is used to treat pain, arthritis pain, menstrual cramps, and colonic polyps. Celebrex is also used relief of pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness caused by osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Adverse reactions include heart attack, stroke, and bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, all of which can be fatal. Serious side effects include fainting, vomiting, kidney failure, heart failure, aggravation of hypertension, and others.
horseweedHorseweed, or Conyza canadensis, is a flowering weed native to North America, but is now found all over the world. Horseweed has been traditionally used to treat diarrhea, bladder problems, menstrual irregularities, and other ailments, however, there are no scientific studies to support any of its uses. Other suggested uses include dysentery, internal hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, nosebleeds, fevers, cough, and bronchitis. Common side effects of horseweed include contact dermatitis. Consult your doctor before taking horseweed if pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Can I Tell When I Am Ovulating?Ovulating days or the most fertile days in a woman that starts around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. However, this may vary from person to person. Ovulation is the female reproductive process of releasing a mature egg from the ovary and transferring it to the fallopian tubes for its union with the sperm.
Ovulation & FertilityBoost fertility and increase your chances to conceive. Learn about ovulation calendars, diet, aging and other factors that can affect pregnancy.
Ovulation Calculator and Fertility CalendarOvulation calculators and calendars are tools that attempt to predict when women might ovulate. These tools are based on the typical length of their menstrual cycle and the expected window for ovulation. These tools will guide women when they are releasing an egg each month (also known as ovulation) and when are they most fertile for the best chances of getting pregnant.
What Are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms?Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms including irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman's stage of life and the symptoms of PCOS.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder PMDD QuizPremenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can be serious and debilitating for some women. The good news is that women do not have to suffer. Take this quiz to learn the differences between PMDD symptoms and its milder cousin, premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends with menstruation. Common PMS symptoms include; depression, irritability, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings. For some women, PMS symptoms can be controlled with natural and home remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, nutrition, and a family and friend support system.
PMS SlideshowPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can cause from mood swings, munchies, and more. Learn about the symptoms, causes and treatments of PMS.
25 Ways to Relieve Menstrual CrampsMenstrual cramps happen when prostaglandins force the uterus to contract. Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, may be relieved by heating pads, ibuprofen, and other measures. Endometriosis may cause severe cramps during the menstrual cycle. Luckily, women have many options for period pain relief.
Lysteda (tranexamic acid)Lysteda (tranexamic acid) is a medication prescribed to promote blood clotting during menstruation, thus reducing bleeding due to heavy periods (menorrhagia). Non-FDA (off-label) uses are nosebleeds (epistaxis), cone biopsy, hyphema (an eye condition), hereditary angioedema (a condition that is similar to hives). Side effects are anemia, joint pain, headache, fatigue, sinus or nasal problems, muscle spasms and cramps, abdominal pain, migraine, and back pain. It may interact with birth control medications. Lysteda is not approved for during pregnancy, and it is excreted in breast milk. Talk with your OB/GYN about taking this drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Is the Normal Cycle for Menstruation?A normal menstrual cycle typically lasts about 28 days long. Check out the center below for more medical references on menstruation, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.