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Role of hormones in each phase of the menstrual cycle

Updated on 10 October 2022

The menstrual cycle is the most important cycle that defines how a female body works. The cycle begins with the first day of your period and ends when your next period begins. It could last on average from 25-36 days. This length could vary from woman to woman even if they are having regular periods. This cycle affects every aspect of the female’s well-being and it is important to understand the same. The hormones change during each phase of the menstrual cycle and they can impact your body and mind in several ways.

Four Phases of Menstrual Cycle

There are four distinct phases in a menstrual cycle each linked to the release of a particular hormone which serves a particular function.

  1. Follicular Phase: This phase starts on Day 1 of the period and continues till the end of ovulation and lasts for 13-15 days. It involves the release of the follicle-stimulating hormone by the Pituitary Gland that helps to produce and hold the egg. It also releases Oestrogen to help in rebuilding the uterine lining.
  2. Menstrual Phase: Menstrual phase starts on Day 1 and continues till the bleeding stops, the body sheds the uterine lining and the oestrogen and progesterone levels are low leaving women with less energy and mood swings. Women tend to feel vulnerable during this phase. This is followed by the proliferative phase when the period ends and the uterine lining gets rebuilt again. The ovaries work on building the egg-containing follicles while the uterus reacts to the oestrogen released by the follicles by rebuilding the lining.
  3. Ovulation Phase: This is roughly the middle of the cycle around the 13th-15th day when the egg is released from the ovary, ready to be fertilised. Oestrogen levels peak just before the release of the egg signalling the increase of the luteinizing hormone which ensures the release of the egg. This is the short period when women feel most energetic, vibrant and positive.
  4. Luteal Phase: This is the post-ovulation phase and continues till the next period begins.Once the egg is released the follicle that contained the egg changes into Corpus Luteum. During this phase, oestrogen and progesterone are produced and the progesterone levels peak around a week into the luteal phase. If the egg is fertilized, progesterone supports the pregnancy. If not, the uterine lining starts breaking down getting ready to be shed during the next period and the cycle repeats.

The Importance of Hormones in the Female Body

The release of hormones like Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Oestrogen, Progesterone and Luteinizing Hormone is important as they play a crucial role in the healthy working of the female body.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone: This is the hormone responsible for the creation of a healthy egg. This is released by the Pituitary Gland. It regulates the working of the male and female reproductive organs- the ovaries and the testes. Any abnormality can result in male or female infertility.

Oestrogen: This is a female sex hormone that controls puberty and strengthens bones. There are three types of Oestrogen.

  • Oestradiol is produced by the ovaries in women of childbearing age.
  • Oestriol is the main oestrogen produced during pregnancy, especially in the placenta
  • Oestrone which is produced by the adrenal glands and fatty tissue is the only oestrogen produced after menopause.

Luteinising Hormone: This is another gonadotrophic hormone produced by the Pituitary gland. It is released after the ovulation phase. On day 14 of the cycle, there is a rise in the luteinising hormone which stimulates the follicular wall to tear and release a mature egg from the ovary. The hormone then stimulates the Corpus Luteum (formed out of the remnants of the follicular wall) to release progesterone which is required to protect the embryo in the event of fertilisation.

Progesterone: Progesterone is released from the Corpus Luteum in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It prepares the female body for pregnancy if the egg is fertilised. It stimulates the growth of blood vessels that supply the endometrium and stimulates the glands to secrete nutrients to nourish the tiny embryo. During pregnancy, it helps in foetal development and helps to strengthen the pelvic wall muscles in preparation for labour.

Each hormone has its own role to play in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle, so important for a woman to lead a healthy life. They contribute to the physical and mental well-being of females and it is important to ensure that the menstrual cycle is regular.

If you are facing issues with your menstrual cycle, you can consult one of the experts at the best gynaecology hospitals in Hyderabad and we will be glad to assist you.

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