The menstrual cycle is a woman’s monthly rhythm that is specifically designed to prepare her body for fertility and pregnancy. Every woman is born with her total reserve of eggs in her ovaries.
The menstrual cycle can be divided into 4 phases:
The first day of the menstrual cycle is the first day of bleeding. From day 1-14 of her cycle, the predominant hormone produced by the ovaries is estrogen. Estrogen causes a proliferation of endometrial cells in the uterus that starts to prepare the uterus to hold a baby.
Just before a woman ovulates, the pituitary gland releases 2 hormones: FSH and LH. This signals for the egg to get released from the ovary. On day 14, the egg is released and the fallopian tube grabs the egg and pulls it into the tube. From there, the egg begins to head toward the uterus.
If sperm makes it way into the uterus and fallopian tube, then there may be fertilization, which occurs in the lower 1/3 of the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg then makes it way to the uterus.
In the second half of the menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce progesterone. Progesterone is designed to implant the fertilized egg into the wall of the uterus causing pregnancy and conception. It's the high levels of progesterone that keep the fertilized egg in the uterus and create an environment that supports pregnancy.
If no pregnancy occurs, then on day 28, the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop, and the lining of the uterus sloughs off and causes a menstrual period. The purpose of the menstrual cycle is to prepare the body for pregnancy each month.
The natural and healthy rhythm of the menstrual cycle is dependent on the balance of the estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. These hormones not only need to be in proper levels, but they need to be balanced with each other. Hormones are produced in the ovaries, thyroid, adrenal glands and pituitary gland. These glands must be working properly to have balanced hormones. They can be affected by toxins in the environment, poor diets, poor sleep and stress. So, a healthy diet and lifestyle is essential to their proper function.
Hormones are also metabolized and cleared out in the live and the gut. If there are excess toxins in the live and the gut or if the liver and gut are not working properly, you may have imbalanced of hormones that affects the menstrual cycle.
The balance of hormones is a delicate dance that plays out monthly as the menstrual cycle. Diet, supplements, lifestyle, quality of sleep, and stress management are essential components of a balanced and healthy menstrual cycle.
xoxox, Dr. G