The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Menstrual Cycle Phases

By Michael Vermesh on February 14, 2019

Illustration of menstrual cycle phasesDr. Michael Vermesh offers effective fertility treatments that can help make parenthood a reality for those dealing with infertility problems. One of the most popular fertility treatments offered at our practice is IVF. IVF, or in vitro fertilization, involves collecting a woman’s eggs and fertilizing them in a laboratory, and then transferring viable embryos directly into the uterus.

IVF is a good option for patients dealing with infertility, but it is important to understand what is causing fertility issues to begin with. In many cases, female fertility problems are linked to an irregular menstrual cycle.

Although the average woman will have 450 periods during her lifetime, many do not fully understand what goes on during the menstrual cycle. Here, we discuss the four menstrual cycle phases to give our Los Angeles, CA patients a better understanding of the typical 28-day menstrual cycle.

Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase, or the stage of active bleeding, is the first phase of the menstrual cycle. The menstrual phase begins on the first day of a woman’s period and continues until the fifth day of the menstrual cycle.

During the menstrual phase, the inner lining of the uterus sheds. This lining is made up of soft tissues and blood vessels. The lining is released through the vagina, in the form of menstrual blood.

Abdominal cramps are a common side effect during the menstrual phase because the uterine and abdominal muscles continually contract to help expel menstrual fluid.

It is normal for a woman to lose between 10 and 80 ml of blood during the menstrual phase.

Follicular Phase

The follicular phase overlaps with the menstrual phase. Like the menstrual phase, the follicular phase begins on day one of the menstrual cycle. However, after the menstrual phase is complete, the follicular phase continues.

The follicular phase generally lasts from day one to day 13 of the menstrual cycle. During the follicular phase, the pituitary gland secretes a hormone that promotes the growth of the egg cells in the ovaries. As egg cells mature, they also release a hormone.

The hormone released by the growing eggs encourages the uterus to create a lining of blood and soft tissues, called the endometrium. It typically takes 13 days for a mature follicle, or egg, to develop.

Ovulation Phase

The ovulation phase is the time during the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release the mature follicle. The pituitary glands excrete a hormone that causes the ovaries to drop the mature egg, which will then go into the fallopian tube.

The ovulation phase typically occurs around day 14 of the menstrual cycle.

Luteal Phase

The final phase of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase. The luteal phase usually begins on day 15 and ends on day 28 of the menstrual cycle.

After a mature egg is released, it remains in the fallopian tube for about 24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized within that time, the follicle (or egg cell) will disintegrate.

Around day 28 of the menstrual cycle, the hormone that encourages the uterus to maintain its endometrium (or uterine lining) will be depleted, and menstrual bleeding will begin, thus starting the next menstrual cycle.

Contact Us

If you are having difficulty conceiving, contact us at your earliest convenience. Dr. Vermesh can perform a fertility evaluation and let you know what treatments may be best-suited to your unique needs.

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