Know your menstrual (period) cycle : How your period affects your fertility

27 November 2013

Your menstrual cycle

The average length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days; however, the menstrual cycle can range from 25 to 36 days.

There are three phases in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Day 1 of the first phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle is the first day of her period, also known as menstruation.


Phase 1: Follicular Phase


The follicular phase starts the first day of menstruation and lasts until the woman ovulates, which is around Day 13 or 14. During the follicular phase, the body is preparing itself for pregnancy with following:

  1. The vaginal environment becomes more sperm friendly.
  2. The lining of the uterus grows and thickens to prepare for the implantation of an embryo.
  3. The small sacs known as ovarian follicles develop, and one follicle becomes dominant.

At the end of the follicular phase, there is a surge of luteinizing hormone, which causes a mature egg to be released. This is called ovulation.


Phase 2: Ovulatory Phase


The ovulatory phase is the shortest phase, only lasting one or two days. In the ovulatory phase:

  1. An egg is released from the dominant ovarian follicle.
  2. The egg can be fertilized up to 24 hours after it is released.

Ovulation is usually between days 13 and 15 when a woman has a regular 28-day cycle.


Phase 3: Luteal Phase


Just after ovulation, the luteal phase begins. Once a woman ovulates, the ruptured ovarian follicle from where it came closes and then forms a structure called the corpus luteum.


The function of the corpus luteum is to produce progesterone, which is the hormone that prepares the uterus for a fertilized egg. Progesterone is also responsible for a rise in body basil temperature (BBT).


If the egg is not fertilized and the woman does not get pregnant, the corpus luteum degenerates. Estrogen and progesterone levels begin to drop, and the lining of the uterus, also known as the endometrium, sheds and bleeds through the cervix and vagina.
Thus, a new menstrual cycle begins.

The team at Coastal IVF Sunshine Coast specialise in fertility and infertility treatment.  If you are having issues with your period / menstrual cycle please speak with your GP and ask for a referal, there is no need to suffer in silence.

Sources - http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.cfm
http://women.webmd.com/features/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-your-period