Your Monthly Cycle Explained
Whether you are having issues related to your menstrual cycle, are preparing to explain periods to your daughter or simply haven’t had a refresher since junior high, understanding your cycle can help you manage side effects and maybe even appreciate how amazing your body is each month. Your menstrual cycle is comprised of the changes your body experiences to prepare for pregnancy; when an egg isn’t fertilized, the uterine lining is shed during your period. Following is a fairly typical 28-day cycle, although this can vary for each woman:
Day 1: Your period starts. Hormone levels are low, so you may feel sluggish or distracted. Periods can last anywhere from a couple days to a full week or more, with the average being four days.
Days 2-6: Estrogen levels gradually increase, which can support everything from good metabolism to better moods and energy.
Estrogen levels continue to increase through day 13, building up the lining of the uterus.
Days 7-14: This week is often when you feel your best; testosterone spikes around day 14. You may notice an increase in sex drive, clearer skin and an energy boost.
Days 14-15: Ovulation takes place; if you’re trying to get pregnant, knowing when you ovulate is key.
Days 16-23: The hormone progesterone surges after ovulation, helping your body prepare for fertilization; you mays also experience increased cravings during this week.
Days 24-28: Estrogen, testosterone and progesterone all decrease markedly, leading to common symptoms of PMS (mood swings, bloating, headaches). This hormonal decline causes the uterine lining to shed, preparing for your next period.