The Menstrual cycle is a cycle of changes your body goes through in preparation for a possible pregnancy. When you hit puberty (10-16 on average) your body begins to produce new hormones. The average cycle is different for every woman, averaging at between 21-35 days. The cycle is counted from day 1 of menstruation to the day 1 of the next one. It is important to keep track of your cycle to spot any changes like missed periods or irregular bleeding. In order to do so, here is a guide on what to expect on different days on your cycle. Remember, every woman is different and so the length of each stage may differ for everybody.
Stage 1 Days 1-5
Ones period starts on day one and can last up to 8 days, but 5 is average. Due to the egg shedding and the lining of the uterus, during this stage bleeding shall occur. This is the body’s natural way of preparing for the next stage. The first 2 days are normally heaviest.
Stage 2 Days 6-14
Once the bleeding stops, your body will prepare the lining of the uterus ( or endometrium ) and shall enrich it with blood and nutrients for potential implantation.
Stage 3 Days 14-25
This is the most fertile period. Around day 14 a new egg is released from the ovaries. As it makes its way down the fallopian tube it may be fertilized if sperm is present. If sperm is not present it shall continue down and try to implant on the uterus wall.
Stage 4 Days 25-28
If the egg does not implant the uterus is signalled through a change of hormones to shed its lining. It then begins this progress and stage 1 begins again.
Missed Period – This can be due to pregnancy. Other reasons can be stress, change in body weight or hormonal imbalance. Your period may also take a while to become regular after coming off or going on birth control. If you have concerns, contact your doctor
Painful Periods – Most women will experience this at some point, most commonly between day 1&3. This occurs when the womb is contracting to shed the lining through your vagina. You may experience a dull pain around your lower abdominal or back area. To prevent pain, simple techniques like healthy dieting, regular exercise, avoiding smoking can help. A warm compress in the painful area may also help. However, if the pain is affecting your everyday life, it is recommended you see a doctor who may suggest alternative methods like anti-inflammatories or the contraceptive pill.