How does the menstrual cycle work? Increase your knowledge of your body and the fertile days and become a Master of Menstrual cycle in just 5 minutes!
The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of the menstrual period and ends on the last day before the next menstrual period. The length of the menstrual cycle can vary from woman to woman and from menstrual cycle to menstrual cycle. Usually, the menstrual cycle lasts 23 to 35 days. Contrary to the presentation of many textbooks, most women do not have a 28-Days menstrual cycle. In a study of 10,000 cycles of healthy women, only 13% had a menstrual cycle length of 28 Days.
The menstrual cycle can be divided into two phases:
1. Maturation-phase (Follicular phase)
Phase from menstruation to ovulation
2. Corpus luteum phase (Luteal phase)
Phase after ovulation
In these menstrual cycle phases, the body signs, Cervical mucus, Basal body temperature and cervix, change very significantly. By documenting the body signs, Fertility Awareness can be used to determine the fertile and infertile days in the menstrual cycle.
The control of the menstrual cycle is essentially regulated by four hormones. The first two hormones, the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH), are produced in the pituitary gland (pituitary). The other two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are formed in the ovary.
I. Maturation Phase (or Follicular phase)
In the ovary, follicles constantly mature in each menstrual cycle under the influence of the hormones FSH and LH. Most follicles are not fully formed and die beforehand. Only a few continue to grow on and usually only one follicle grows to full maturity (Graaf’s follicle). The hormone estrogen is increasingly formed in the wall of the vesicle.
Estrogens cause a variety of physical changes that can be used to determine the fertile and infertile days in the menstrual cycle. First, the formation of cervical mucus in the crypts of the uterine cervix, as well as the softening and opening of the Cervix. Without cervical mucus, sperm could survive only a few hours, with cervical mucus it stays viable for about 3 to 5 days in the woman’s body. If the cervix is closed and hard, the sperm cannot enter the uterine cervix or fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place. The cervical mucus and cervix are therefore very good indicators of the fertility period in the menstrual cycle. In addition, estrogens are responsible for building up the lining of the uterus, which in turn is important for the possible implantation of the fertilized egg.
In the last days before ovulation, estrogen reaches its highest value in the blood. This estrogen peak is communicated to the brain (pituitary gland). The pituitary gland reacts with an increased release of the hormone LH (LH peak). From this LH peak follows the bursting of a mature egg follicle (Graaf’s follicle) and ejection of the egg (ovulation).
The estrogen level and cervical mucus are related in the menstrual cycle.
When the estrogen level reaches its peak shortly before ovulation, cervical mucus also reaches the best quality just before ovulation. In the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle, the cervical mucus is usually spinnable and transparent such as water or protein.
Menstrual cycle in the ovary – a) immature follicles b) Maturation of some follicles c) Selection of the decisive follicle d) Graafian follicle e) Ovulation f) Corpus luteum g) Involution of the Corpus luteum
II. Corpus luteum phase (or Luteal phase)
In the corpus luteum phase of the menstrual cycle, the egg follicles convert into a new yellow-colored gland (corpus luteum). The corpus luteum produces the corpora lutea hormone progesterone, which was already formed in small amounts in the jump ready egg follicles.
Estrogens are also still formed, but less than during the period of ovulation. For this reason, women often observe lower cervical mucus quality after ovulation. The cervical mucus is then rather lumpy, milky like quark or yoghurt. The intensified formation of progesterone causes the reduction of the hormones LH and FSH in the pituitary gland and thus prevents further ovulation. Thus, an egg is only fertile for a period of 12 to 18 hours after ovulation. Multiple ovulation is only possible in this time slot. For this reason, natural multiple births and pregnancies are rather rare.
If the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, the corpus luteum is preserved approximately to the second month of pregnancy and only recedes afterwards. Progesterone levels remain elevated throughout the pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum perishes over time, adjusts the production of the hormone progesterone, and menstrual bleeding occurs about 12 to 16 days after ovulation. In response to decreased estrogen and progesterone production, the pituitary gland now secretes more and more FSH and LH. A new menstrual cycle begins.
The progesterone and basal body temperature are linked together in the menstrual cycle.
Since progesterone is produced more intensely after ovulation, you can observe an increase in basal body temperature shortly after ovulation. The basal body temperature, like the progesterone level, remains elevated in the event of pregnancy. For this reason, a pregnancy can also be detected from the basal body temperature curve of the menstrual cycle.
Menstruation is a process in which the lining of the uterus is expelled in the form of menstrual bleeding. Menstruation lasts about 2 to 7 days. Most women lose about 10 to 80 ml a day. The menstrual bleeding is distributed over this period, usually the strongest menstrual bleeding occurs on the second day of the cycle. Many women have menstrual problems, these can often be alleviated naturally with the help of free Menstruation.
Determining Fertile Days in the Menstrual Cycle
Every woman has fertile days in the menstrual cycle where she can become pregnant through unprotected intercourse. The fertile days consist of the period that the egg in the woman’s body and sperm are capable of fertilization. The most safe and best way to determine the fertile days in the menstrual cycle is with the Symptothermal Method (NFP), as it uses the basal body temperature and cervical mucus in double-checking.
The Symptohermal Method or NFP has been scientifically tested in studies, especially if you wish to have a child, it is very successful. A 2003 Study saw 81% of women who did the Symptohermal Method get pregnant within 6 months after a year, down from as much as 92%. Comparing these figures to couples who don’t practice the Symptohermal Method, only 60% get pregnant after 6 months and 85% after 12 months. Thus, the Symptohermal Method increases the pregnancy rate enormously.
In addition, the Symptothermal Method is a proven means of detecting numerous menstrual cycle disorders. For the desire to have children, significant menstrual cycle disorders such as shortened Corpus Luteum phase (luteal insufficiency), shortened or prolonged maturation phase and the absence of ovulation can be diagnosed. This information allows for a more targeted, more comfortable treatment of women who have unfulfilled desire to have children. Women with extended cycle lengths of more than 35 days (PCOS) have very good chances of becoming pregnant with the Symptohermal Method in combination with medical care. The leading physician in the field of menstrual cycle diagnostics using the Symptothermal Method is Dr. Frank-Hermann from the University of Heidelberg.
Menstrual cycle Quiz
To deepen your knowledge of the menstrual cycle and this article, you can take part in our Menstrual Cycle Quiz. Only those who answer all questions about the menstrual cycle correctly can become a “Master of Menstrual Cycle“ and download the Master of Menstrual Cycle Testimony.
Accept Fertile greetings from
Marcus Krahlisch (Text) and Anne Zietmann (Graphic design)