Understanding the Menstrual Cycle aka Your Period 

 December 4, 2021

By  Kayla DiGaetano

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Ever wondered why the term menstrual cycle coined the nickname “periods?” It received its nickname because they arrive periodically in a (hopefully) regular monthly pattern.

Menstruation as defined on womenshealth.gov, is a “woman’s monthly bleeding, often called your period. When you menstruate, your body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of your uterus (womb). Menstrual blood and tissue flow from your uterus through the small opening in your cervix and pass out of your body through your vagina.

During the monthly menstrual cycle, the uterus lining builds up to prepare for pregnancy. If you do not get pregnant, estrogen and progesterone hormone levels begin falling. Very low levels of estrogen and progesterone tell your body to begin menstruation.”

Bloody Pad

The chart below is a breakdown of what occurs during your monthly cycle

Cycle Days (Approximately)What happens on your period during this time
Day 1 -5The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered Day 1 of the cycle. Both estrogen and progesterone have dropped. Your period can last anywhere from 3 to 8 days. Bleeding is usually heaviest in the first 2 days.
Day 6 -14Once the bleeding stops, the uterine lining begins to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy.
Day 14-25Around day 14, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. If sperm is present fertilization can occur. In this case, the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus and attempt to implant in the uterine wall.  
Days 25-28If the egg was not fertilized or implantation does not occur, a signal occurs to the uterus to prepare to shed its lining, and the egg breaks down and is shed along with the lining. The cycle begins again on Day 1 menstrual bleeding.             

Pretty wild that our bodies are constantly working, and we don’t even know it!

I know a lot of women find having their periods annoying and will skip it if they can (using hormonal birth control) and especially if they have unpleasant pre period symptoms. It becomes the dreaded week of the month where all you want to do is stay in bed, eat ice cream and binge watch Netflix. And I don’t know about you but my period “conveniently” comes whenever I have an important event or vacation etc…

So I get it- it can be annoying BUT the more I realize and learn, it’s a blessing to have it and I think we don’t praise the importance of getting our periods enough! As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, your periods and menstrual cycle tell you a lot about your health. Getting your period is one of our detox pathways, it’s also a vital sign for overall health (if you have enough nutrients), it’s correlated with hormone health and it’s an important sign for those who want to conceive.

Stay tuned as in my next blog we’ll dive deeper into the phases of our periods. We’ll go into detail about what happens at each phase of our cycle, and why each phase is important! These phases Day 1-14 (Follicular), Day 14-ish (Ovulatory) and Day 14-28 (Luteal Phase).

Kayla DiGaetano

Educating clients on the importance of Metabolic Health, and instilling in them the drive and commitment needed throughout my athletic career, helps my clients achieve and surpass their fitness goals.

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