Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle
Curious about your menstrual cycles? You’ve come to the right place. Understanding how your menstrual cycle, period, vagina, and body works absolutely ROCKS! Don’t let society make you feel embarrassed for having a period. We're huge supporters of being vocal about the period movement. Don’t be shy, but FIRST, learn all you can about it.
What exactly is a menstrual cycle?
Your period means so much more than just bleeding out of your vagina every month. It has an important purpose, and your uterus is hard at work every month. Your menstrual cycle starts the very first day you get your period and lasts between 23-35 days. Huh??? Your menstrual cycle has phases. During menstruation (your period), which lasts between 2 - 7 days, the lining of the uterus is shed and passes through the cervix to the vagina and out of the body as menstrual blood, and after ~14 days, you start ovulating (release an egg), and by day 28 or 30 (varies for people), your uterus starts to shed the lining again.
The first day of your menstrual cycle is DAY 1 of your period. Let’s say your period lasts 5 days… now add 6 more days after that and you’ve started ovulating! That means your ovaries just released an egg. Oh, you’re not pregnant? Don’t worry, your uterus will form a soft lining to prepare for an embryo anyway. By day 28 or 30, your menstrual cycle is over. Oh but it doesn’t end there! Do you see blood coming out of your vagina again? That means your egg wasn’t fertilized after ovulation and your uterus is shedding again! Congrats on starting your menstrual cycle for the month ;)
What is ovulation?
Alright, this stuff is FASCINATING, so brace yourselves. Your pituitary gland, located behind the bridge of your nose and attached to the base of your brain (google it), controls your ovaries and several hormone glands in your body. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is produced by the pituitary gland which then stimulate your ovaries to produce mature eggs! Mind = blown. That’s not all though, ovulation has many steps. First, your body prepares for ovulation by producing FSH, then that hormone produces another hormone called estrogen, and after that, estrogen levels start to increase and the follicle grows! Your eggs start to mature and the estrogen is making sure the lining of your womb is thick and healthy. In other words, ready for a baby to grow (even if you’re not pregnant). When the mature egg is released from the ovary, it enters the fallopian tube…and that my friends, is what we call ovulation.
Confused yet? We’ve got more.
After your egg is released (ovulation), and goes through the Fallopian tube, it creates another hormone called progesterone. Your body is still working and this is when you’ll most likely start to feel PMS symptoms. Doesn’t it all make sense now? When estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, your uterus sheds the lining, giving you the beautiful phenomenon we all know as a period.
Pretty simple, isn’t it? Yeahhh, right. However, it’s still an incredible experience, so don’t be ashamed of your period, it's pretty amazing and SO ARE YOU!