Your period may be very unpredictable for the first two years while you settle into your cycle. So we’ve created the four-phase breakdown below to help you recognize what’s going on and when. Being clued-up on your cycle means you’ll be better prepared to deal with your period.
You’ll know when to carry tampons or pads and how to recognize and relieve period pain. It’s also essential you understand your cycle if you wish to use birth control or are planning to have a baby.
Phase 1 – Having your period (‘menstruation’).
Basically, your body is getting rid of tissue it doesn’t need. The lining of the womb breaks up and alongside body cells and mucus it passes slowly out the body through the vagina, causing you to bleed. You might feel like your flow is heavy but in reality the bleeding of an average period is only equivalent to 6-9 tablespoons. Your period may appear bright red or quite dark and might include some clumps or clots.
Phase 2 – Just after your period ends (‘pre-ovulation phase’).
Around the time your period ends, your body gets ready again for a potential pregnancy. Your ovaries prepare another egg and a hormone called oestrogen makes your womb rebuild its lining.
Phase 3 - Ovulation
Hormones prompt your ovaries to release an egg into the fallopian tubes. At the same time, because of hormone progesterone, your womb thickens its lining in preparation for the egg to be fertilised. Ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the start of your next period.
Phase 4 - Pre-menstrual (‘luteal’) phase.
If the egg is not fertilised, your womb gets ready to release its lining. Levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone drop and you enter a new menstrual cycle as the shedding of this lining begins. (beinggilr.co.uk)