Menstrual cycle is a physiological process that occurs in females that have reached puberty. It is the reproductive cycle hence it is crucial for females to have a proper understanding of the rhythm in order to be able to discern when anomalies arise with their cycle.
To fully grasp this all-important subject, let’s introduce ourselves to some common terms and their meaning.
Menstrual cycle is the hormonal process a woman’s body experiences monthly to prepare for possible pregnancy.
Menstruation (frequently referred to as period) is a woman’s monthly bleeding from the uterus from puberty till menopause.
Menarche is the term used to describe the beginning of first menstrual period.
Ovulation is the process through which a matured egg (ovum) is expelled from the ovary under the regulation of hormones.
Fertile period/ fertile days are all days during the menstrual cycle when a woman has the ability to pregnant if she has unprotected sex.
Oestrogen – hormone produced by the ovary that causes growth of the wall of the uterus (womb) in preparation for possible pregnancy and changes in the cervical mucus (lower part of the womb) to allow for sperm penetration.
Progesterone– hormone secreted by the remnant of the follicle that helps maintain pregnancy.
Follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) – are hormones secreted by the brain and they form an integral part of the regulatory process of menstrual cycle.
Menstrual cycle: the basics
As earlier stated, menstrual cycle occurs under the influence of hormones that are secreted by the brain and ovary. This cycle is tightly aligned. These hormones have stimulatory and inhibitory effects that result in maturation of eggs in the ovary for possible pregnancy.
Menstrual cycle is the start point between the first day of a woman’s period (the bleeding period) until the time of the next menstruation. The length of menstrual cycle tends to vary from woman to woman.
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