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Understand the Menstrual Cycle and Fertility

You always encounter this question ‘first day of your last period’ whenever you visit your doctor. It may seem repetitive and unnecessary, but the duration of the menstrual cycle can tell a lot about the health along with the changes body goes through every month. With the help of this, the doctor can give you a better vision of your fertility window as the female body prepares itself for the pregnancy. But the question lies what our cycle depicts about the ability of body to conceive naturally.

Menstrual Cycle or Period Cycle

When we talk about menstrual cycle then it is more than period. It is actually a chain of changes a female body goes through every month where ovary releases an egg and uterus prepares itself for the pregnancy. This cycle is bifurcated into two phases:

  • The Follicular Phase: This phase starts with the first day of period or menses e. the first day of your cycle. In this, brain releases the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which is a female sex hormone for stimulating the growth of single dominant follicle which has egg. Then the follicle releases estrogen, which activates the uterine lining growth during its maturation. This phase finishes at the start of ovulation. The duration of this phase may differ.

Normal menstrual cycle

  • The Luteal Phase: This phase starts with ovulation and continues till menses onset. In this, the ovary releases progesterone, which is responsible for uterine lining maturity and prepares it for embryo The progesterone level drops, and bleeding starts if pregnancy doesn’t occur. This phase lasts for maximum 14 days.

Why menstrual cycle length matters?

The number of days from the first day of bleeding till the beginning of next menses is the length of the menstrual cycle. Without any form of birth control, the length of the cycle is a key indicator of hormonal imbalance and in any case, ovulation is taking place regularly. Pregnancy cannot occur without ovulation.

  • Normal Menstrual Cycle: When menstrual cycle is within 21 to 35 days, it indicates the ovulation is occurring regularly as the cycles are regular. Normal length menstrual cycle indicates regular ovulation and sex hormones are balanced for supporting the natural conception.
  • Short Menstrual Cycle: It indicates menstruation in less than 21 It indicates ovulation hasn’t occurred. The ovarian contain few eggs and menopause is approaching. Natural conception is more difficult if blood works confirms it. Woman’s menstrual cycle shortens with age.
  • Long or Irregular Menstrual Cycle: When menstrual cycle is occurring after 35 days or more. It indicates either there is no ovulation or it is occurring irregularly. It indicates the difficulty in conception. The reason behind irregular menstruation is lack of regular If follicle doesn’t mature and ovulate, then progesterone is never released and uterus lining keeps building due to estrogen.

Menstrual cycle

With time, the lining starts getting thick and become unstable and like blocks tower which in some time falls and results in bleeding. The bleeding is unpredictable and can be really hard and lasts for long period.

Anovulation: This is a situation when ovaries don’t release mature eggs regularly. There are number of factors like irregularities with thyroid gland or increase in prolactin levels which prevents the brain from communicating with ovary. PCOS is a situation, which takes place due to imbalance of sex hormones and can result in failed ovulation and fertility plus increases the miscarriage risk.

Silent Anovulation: In a study it was found that one third of all-normal menstrual cycles may be egg less and known as silent anovulation. It occurs when female have regular cycles but ovaries doesn’t release egg. It thwarts woman’s fertility, increasing the risk of bone less, breast cancer and early heart attack. Stress is also related to silent anovulation. Researchers believe it is a response of body to stop female from getting pregnant.

What if bleeding lasts for more than 5 to 7 days?

If bleeding lasts for more than 7 days, then it indicates that ovulation has not taken place. It informs doctor that ovulation isn’t occurring regularly, something disrupting the uterus lining or the issue is letting formation of blood clots.

What happens when you never menstruate?

It you have rarely or never had your periods then it implies ovulation not occurring. It results in difficulty in conceiving naturally without any intervention.

Normal menstruation indicates your regular ovulation and there are many factors that why you are unable to get pregnant which needs to be evaluated by your doctor.

Hope this article gave you an idea on the menstrual cycle along with what are the issues related with short menstruation and irregular menstrual cycles. Follow Archish Fertility blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.