What Happens In Each Menstrual Cycle
Why should you care about how to calculate menstrual cycle? It matters for many reasons. Some women just want to know when to expect the monthly flow. Others are trying to get pregnant and want to be able to track their ovulation timesthis begins by learning to track periods. Others just want to make sure everything is okay each month.
A menstrual cycle is much more than just a period. There are actually three very distinct phases throughout the month that create the full cycle.
Day 1 to 12: The Follicular Phase
This begins on the day you begin to bleed and continues until the day you ovulate. Certain hormones course through the body and prepare the ovaries to release follicles. One of those follicles will grow rapidly and turn into the ovum or the egg that is released during the ovulatory phase. The follicle secretes estrogen, and that helps build up the lining of the uterus.
Day 13 to 15: The Ovulatory Phase
In this phase, the egg is released into the fallopian tube. Once it is released, there is a 24-48 hour window during which it could be fertilized by male sperm. Cervical mucus increases during this time, to help the sperm swim up to the egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining begins to break down and the next phase begins.
Day 16 to 28: The Luteal Phase
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about bleeding between periods, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
Irregular Menstrual Cycle And Bleeding
Some abnormalities during the reproductive years might include polyps, fibroids as well as anovulation , endometriosis andless commontumors/growths. Bleeding can also be a symptom of infection such as endometritis orpelvic inflammatory disease.
Remember, not all bleeding and irregularity is a cause for concern. For example, it is very common to have irregular bleeding with some contraception methods. Stress and other issues can also cause changes to your cycle from time to time.
Also, many women in the 20s and 30s experience painful menstrual cramps. You can treat cramps with over-the-counter pain relievers or heating pads. Here are some other ways to fight back at painful periods.
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How Does My Menstrual Cycle Change As I Get Older
Your cycles may change in different ways as you get older. Often, periods are heavier when you are younger and usually get lighter in your 20s and 30s. This is normal.
- For a few years after your first period, menstrual cycles longer than 38 days are common. Girls usually get more regular cycles within three years of starting their periods. If longer or irregular cycles last beyond that, see your doctor or nurse to rule out a health problem, such as polycystic ovary syndrome .5
- In your 20s and 30s, your cycles are usually regular and can last anywhere from 24 to 38 days.
- In your 40s, as your body starts the transition to menopause, your cycles might become irregular. Your menstrual periods might stop for a month or a few months and then start again. They also might be shorter or last longer than usual, or be lighter or heavier than normal.
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have menstrual cycles that are longer than 38 days or shorter than 24 days, or if you are worried about your menstrual cycle.
Comprehensive Explanation Of The Menstrual Cycle:
The menstrual cycle has three phases:
1. Follicular Phase
This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from approximately day 1-14. Day 1 is the first day of bright red bleeding, and the end of this phase is marked by ovulation. While menstrual bleeding does happen in the early part of this phase, the ovaries are simultaneously preparing to ovulate again. The pituitary gland releases a hormone called FSH follicle stimulating hormone. This hormone causes several follicles to rise on the surface of the ovary. These fluid filled bumps each contain an egg. Eventually, one of these follicle becomes dominant and within it develops a single mature egg the other follicles shrink back. If more than one follicle reaches maturity, this can lead to twins or more. The maturing follicle produces the hormone estrogen, which increases over the follicular phase and peaks in the day or two prior to ovulation. The lining of the uterus becomes thicker and more enriched with blood in the second part of this phase , in response to increasing levels of estrogen. High levels of estrogen stimulate the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone , which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete luteinizing hormone . On about day 12, surges in LH and FSH cause the egg to be released from the follicle. The surge in LH also causes a brief surge in testosterone, which increases sex drive, right at the most fertile time of the cycle.
2. Ovulatory Phase
3. Luteal Phase
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Birth Control And Other Medications
Anytime you start hormonal birth control, you run the risk of experiencing irregular periods until your body adjusts to the new medication. Intrauterine devices are especially noted for causing long gaps between periods.
Some lesser known culprits behind irregular menstrual cycles include:
- Anti-depressants and anti-psychotics
- Thyroid medications
What Is Intermenstrual Bleeding
It is bleeding that occurs before or after the period rather than being part of the cycle and is another common change to your body in your 40s. However, it is always prudent to rule out dysfunctional uterine bleeding. For instance, by booking a cervical smear to rule out cervical cancer. Or an ultrasound scan of the pelvis to check the womb for uterine cancer. These diagnoses are the very worst case scenario, but it is useful to know which symptoms are a cause for concern.
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What Is A Normal Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is a term used to describe the sequence of events that occur within a womans body as it prepares for the possibility of pregnancy each month. A menstrual cycle is considered to begin on the first day of a period. The average cycle is 28 days long however, a cycle can range in length from 21 days to about 35 days.
The steps in the menstrual cycle are triggered by the rise and fall of chemicals in the body called hormones. The pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries in the female reproductive tract manufacture and release certain hormones at certain times during the menstrual cycle that cause the organs of the reproductive tract to respond in certain ways. The specific events that occur during the menstrual cycle can be described as follows:
What If I Havent Had My Period Yet
Its normal to get your period as early as 9 years old or as late as 14 years old. This is a big time range and its hard to be one of the first or one of the last. Girls who are active in sports or are very thin may not get their period until a later age. Losing weight while you are in your growth spurt can also delay your periods. A late start to puberty and menstrual periods may run in your family. Talk to your parent or your healthcare provider about your worries and concerns. If you havent gotten your period by the time you have turned 15 or if you started your breast development more than three years ago and havent gotten your period, get a check-up with your health care provider just to make sure everything is okay. Your HCP sees many girls who develop late, so dont be embarrassed to ask. Your HCP may do a genital exam and check to see if your hymen is open. Some girls are born with an imperforate hymen, which means that the hymen does not have an opening, and blood cannot leave the vagina. Rarely, girls are born with a condition called Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome , which is an incomplete vagina and/or small or absent uterus, so they dont get their period for this reason. Its a good idea to get regular check-ups during puberty just to make sure that everything is okay.
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Causes Of A Long Cycle
The later into their cycle a person ovulates, the later their period will be. A long cycle may mean that a person ovulated very late, or did not ovulate at all.
According to the OWH , specific causes for a long menstrual cycle include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome : Sometimes, late ovulation is a sign of PCOS. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, unusual or excessive body hair growth, unexplained weight gain, and insulin resistance.
- Hyperthyroidism: When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, it can cause late or missed periods. The OWH list other hyperthyroidism symptoms as feelings of nervousness, unexplained weight loss, a rapid heartbeat, and trouble sleeping.
A person with these symptoms should speak to their doctor. If a person has not had their period, they should also consider whether they might be pregnant.
Knowing When Youre Going To Get Your Period Is Pretty Helpful
Maybe youâre planning a day at the beach. Maybe you have a sleepover with friends coming up. Or maybe you just want to know when to stash some extra Always Ultra in your bag, so youâre not caught off guard by your monthly flow.
Knowing how to calculate your menstrual cycle is easy and can give you a peace of mind.
So, hereâs how to do it.
How to calculate your menstrual cycle
In order to calculate your menstrual cycle, youâll need to learn how to track your cycle.
Donât worry. Itâs pretty simple. All you need to do is mark down when your period started on a calendar for a few months in order to figure out how to count your period cycle days and to calculate the average length of your menstrual cycle.
How to count the days in your menstrual cycle
Hereâs how it works. Mark the first day of your period on the calendar. The first day of your period is Day 1 of your menstrual cycle. Starting on the first day of your period, start counting.
The day before your next period is the last day of your menstrual cycle. Thatâs when you stop counting. Thatâs how many days you had in your menstrual cycle that month. For instance, if you got your period on June 5 and your next period came on July 2, your cycle length was 27 days that month.
Calculating your average menstrual cycle length
If you do this for a few months, youâll know how to count your period cycle days and youâll be able to figure out your average cycle length.
How to know when your next period is due
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Using The Period Tracker To Predict Ovulation
You can also use this period calculator to find out what is your fertility window – that is, the time when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
As sperm can live up to seven days inside your body, you can safely assume that the fertility window starts seven days before ovulation. It ends only one day after the ovulation, though, as the egg lives for maximum 24 hours.
Ovulation is the time when an egg is released from your ovaries. This is the time when you are most fertile. It usually happens about two weeks before the start of the next period. If you want to have a more precise estimate, you should monitor your body temperature and the changes in cervical mucus.
We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor’s assessment. If any health condition bothers you, consult a physician.
Long Menstrual Cycles What You Should Know
Do you wait longer than other women for your period to show up each month? If so, you might be experiencing long menstrual cycles. While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, normal menstrual cycles can range anywhere from 24 to 38 days in adults. Teens may have to wait even longer between menses, but they should start experiencing normal menstrual cycles within three years of their first period.
The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of your next period, with most women experiencing menstrual flow for two to seven days. Your monthly cycle is controlled by the rise and fall of hormonal levels. If youre unsure of just how long your menstrual cycle lasts, there are a number of amazing apps out there. They can help you track the timing of factors like ovulation, bleeding, and any symptoms tied to your cycle.
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General Overview Of The Menstrual Cycle:
The menstrual cycle includes several phases. The exact timing of the phases of the cycle is a little bit different for every woman and can change over time.
The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered Day 1 of the cycle.
Your period can last anywhere from 3 to 8 days, but 5 days is average.
Bleeding is usually heaviest on the first 2 days.
Once the bleeding stops, the uterine lining begins to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy.
The uterine lining becomes thicker and enriched in blood and nutrients.
Somewhere around day 14, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
If sperm are present in the fallopian tube at this time, fertilization can occur.
In this case the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus and attempt to implant in the uterine wall.
If the egg was not fertilized or implantation does not occur, hormonal changes signal the uterus to prepare to shed its lining, and the egg breaks down and is shed along with lining.
The cycle begins again on Day 1 menstrual bleeding.
What If I Get Spots Of Blood On My Underwear Between My Periods
Bleeding in the middle of your cycle could mean different things. Some women bleed a little bit during the middle of their cycle, when they ovulate . This is nothing to worry about. Other times, spotting occurs because of an infection such as a sexually transmitted infection. Very rarely, spotting can be because of a polyp or fibroid, but this is not very common. You should talk to your HCP if you have bleeding when you dont have your period.
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