The human body can be compared to a machine, since its functioning depends completely on several “gears” to have its proper functioning. It is also no different with the female reproductive system and everything that involves the menstrual cycle.
The beginning of the menstrual cycle is an important milestone in female life, it is in it that the whole cycle of life begins . And for everything to occur in a natural and healthy way, each function of the reproductive system together with brain commands must work in total harmony.
What is the Menstrual Cycle?
Menstrual cycle is the name given to a woman’s fertile phase. It usually starts at around 12 years of age when menarche occurs (first menstruation), and can occur in early cases in girls aged 8 or 9 years.
The menstrual cycle phase has the sole purpose of sexual reproduction and, therefore, the entire process of the female body works in order to prepare itself to be to generate an embryo and when it does not occur, to start the whole process in a new cycle.
The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstrual live blood , and the presence of lees or light bleeding that precede it should be disregarded as the beginning . From that day, the counting of the new cycle begins, until the next menstruation .
Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is divided into three phases and each of them accompanies very specific symptoms that can be easily identified, making it much easier for both those who wish to become pregnant and those who wish to avoid pregnancy.
Each phase of the menstrual cycle works through hormonal stimuli that the body produces. Each with its particularity, is produced with a different responsibility so that the entire female reproductive system works as expected. The three phases of the menstrual cycle are: follicular phase, ovulatory phase and luteal phase .
The follicular phase is the first phase of the menstrual cycle. It normally lasts for an average of 15 days , varying a few days more or less. It starts on the first day of menstrual bleeding until reaching a new phase, ovulatory.
In the follicular phase, the development of the ovarian follicle begins, as well as the preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg. During the first stage of the follicular phase, the pituitary gland that is responsible for the production of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) is stimulated and around 3 to 30 follicles are developed containing an egg inside each one.
However, only one of them continues to develop to be fertilized, while the others begin to degenerate. These follicles stimulate the production of the estrogen hormone that prepare and strengthen the endometrium , making it more resistant to support the fertilized egg (luteal phase). This entire process takes place on average until the tenth day.
From the tenth day on, the second part of the follicular phase begins. The only follicle to develop and remain strong is about to be released. As estrogen production continues to be stimulated, the endometrium is getting stronger and stronger to receive the released egg.
At this stage, the cervical mucus presents itself in a very characteristic way, with an aqueous texture, in preparation to receive and facilitate the mobility of sperm to the uterus. In addition to preparing the environment for the arrival of sperm , making it more conducive to survival, the cervix is more humid at this stage of the menstrual cycle.
Important: The follicular phase can change and reduce its period due to some health problems or even with the approach of menopause.
The ovulatory phase is marked by the release of the single predominant follicle (the release of 1, 2 or 3 eggs may occur). With the increase in the LH hormone, the follicle ruptures, finally releasing the egg to be fertilized. This release usually occurs between 16 to 30 hours after the hormonal rise.
During this process, some women report feeling some discomfort, pain or discomfort on one side of the abdomen, which can last for only a few minutes or hours. It is a rare symptom and is not felt in all cycles , so do not create expectations waiting for this symptom as identification of ovulation.
The luteal phase is the last phase of the menstrual cycle. The ovarian follicle that had the role of “guarding” the egg, now gains a new function after releasing it. At this stage, the follicle fills with blood and begins to stimulate the production of the hormone progesterone , which is responsible for strengthening the endometrium and supporting the implantation of the embryo .
At this stage, the blood-filled follicle is called the corpus luteum , which is responsible for the name of the luteal phase. As it is responsible for the stimulation of progesterone, all other hormones are low at this stage, ensuring the development of the embryo.
The luteal phase process lasts 10 to 16 days , which may vary depending on the woman’s cycle. What is considered healthy is that the luteal phase lasts an average of 14 days. Women who have a luteal phase that is less than 11 days should talk to the gynecologist for follow-up and appropriate treatment, since the chances of being able to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy forward are reduced due to the quality and strength of the endometrium.
Irregular Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle considered normal occurs from 28 to 30 days, however, many women have great difficulty in following such a straight cycle which makes it very difficult when they want to get pregnant or even follow some method to avoid it.
For a woman to be sure if she has an irregular menstrual cycle, it is necessary to follow at least 3 complete cycles and be analyzed how many days it takes for the next menstruation. It is necessary to write down the correct dates to make an adequate follow-up.
It is worth noting that variations of 2 to 7 days in each menstrual cycle are not considered as a sign of irregular menstrual cycle , but natural variations of the body due to hormonal changes. In a longer term than that, it can become a problem for those who want to get pregnant or even to use control methods to avoid becoming pregnant, such as the syntothermic method.
How to Deal with the Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Having an irregular cycle is no big deal, but it is necessary to know your body very well to recognize each signal in each phase that it is going through. The observation of cervical mucus is one of the main ones, both for women who wish to become pregnant and for those who are trying to avoid it.
Even with an irregular menstrual cycle, the presence of mucus is evident. The more elastic it is, the closer you are to ovulation. The vaginal moisture is also a clear feature of the fertile period, then facilitates the identification of when to perfect in practice (for tentantes) or to have protected sex, for those who want to avoid.
It is natural for many women to spend their entire lives with an irregular menstrual cycle, but it is important to highlight that it is possible to discover the cause and treat in some cases, in order to regulate the menstrual cycle.
How to Regular or Menstrual Cycle
Nowadays we find an extensive list of products recommended to regulate the menstrual cycle, from pharmacological to natural methods. However, the ideal is to talk to your gynecologist to analyze your condition and start treatment with medical monitoring.
It is necessary to carry out complementary exams to investigate the cause, such as hormonal exams and transvaginal ultrasounds. Being hormonal problems, your gynecologist will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment and the situation will be resolved in a few months.
But if your tests did not show any changes, no hormonal disorder and no apparent cause is deregulating your cycle. Some natural tips, like vitex tea can help to resolve.
Main Causes of the Irregular Menstrual Cycle
The main cause of uncontrolled menstrual cycle is hormonal, but there are other causes that may be responsible. At the top of the list is the use of some medications, including oral contraceptive methods such as birth control pills or morning-after pills .
These methods are very effective, if used properly. The use of the contraceptive pill can even be used as a method of regularizing the cycle, but it must be taken correctly, every day and preferably at the same time each day for the period indicated by the gynecologist.
If used incorrectly, it can cause the opposite effect, completely uncontrolling the menstrual cycle , causing hormonal disruptions and blood leaks . It is also worth noting that after stopping using the contraceptive pill after a certain period, it is natural to lose control of the cycle, until the body normalizes its hormonal levels.
Absence of Menstruation
The lack of menstruation in women of childbearing age also known as amenorrhea , is not always a sign of pregnancy. The absence of menstruation can be recurrent to several factors, including hormonal changes.
Other very common causes of menstrual absence are changes in birth control pills, misuse of the morning-after pill or even stressful situations in the woman’s life, where the menstrual cycle is totally affected. Excessive physical activity is also on the list of occurrences affecting the menstrual cycle, as well as anorexia.
It is worth remembering that menstrual delays may occur, but the total absence of menstruation is not normal and the cause must be investigated by the gynecologist. If you are already close to menopause , the absence of menstruation for more than 3 months may indicate that you are in the pre-menopause , talk to your doctor for more detailed exams.
Main Causes of Menstrual Absence
Some medications: Some medications used in various treatments can affect the functioning of the menstrual cycle. Medicines such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, drugs used in chemotherapy, medicines for hypertension and some antidepressants. If you are using some of these medications and you are having a missed period, talk to your doctor.
Thyroid changes : Thyroid changes can cause menstrual absence or even uncontrolled cycle. Through specific blood tests it is possible to identify whether it is hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and to make the appropriate treatment.
Reproductive System Diseases: Some problems in the female reproductive system can be the cause of menstrual absence, such as endometriosis , polycystic ovary syndrome and fibroids . Following the appropriate treatment for each problem it is possible to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Anxiety / Stress Pictures: Many women, due to their intense lives, suffer from anxiety and stress crises, which can trigger menstrual absence. Through the control of stress and even the practice of physical exercises to improve the mind it is possible to regularize the situation.
Pain and discomfort during the menstrual cycle
The human body is very sensitive and reacts to changes and phases in many ways. These changes and reactions are even more intense in the female body, due to hormonal changes and everything that occurs during the menstrual cycle.
That is why it is very common to hear about the pain and discomfort felt by all women during the cycle. Some are able to circumvent these discomforts naturally, but others may suffer so much from these monthly occurrences that their professional or social lives are affected .
It is very common to hear about the famous PMS ( Premenstrual Tension), mainly due to its intense changes in mood or desire to eat sweets . But PMS is highlighted by the great amount of discomfort in the body, such as cramps, sensitivities in the breasts, abdominal swelling and severe headaches.
How to Control the Discomfort of the Menstrual Cycle?
These discomforts can be controlled or alleviated through the use of medications appropriate for this period. However, in case of recurrent discomfort and pain that may interfere with the woman’s life, it is necessary to talk to your gynecologist.
Severe pain during the menstrual cycle may be an indication of endometriosis and appropriate treatment is needed to solve the problem or at least do the appropriate treatment to alleviate it. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to resolve the discomfort.
In general, the discomfort of the menstrual cycle can be controlled with pain relievers, a warm tea and rest .
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.