Menstrual Cycle Day By Day: What Happens In A Woman's Body And How To Deal With Periodic Discomfort

Lifestyle & Health

Without exaggeration, the life of every woman depends on her menstrual cycle. The natural functioning of the endocrine system and the changes in the hormonal background that it regulates directly affect not only the ability to conceive a child but also well-being and even mood.

The simplest and most convenient way of controlling your menstrual cycle is by installing a special application on your phone that will help you calculate the days you are ovulating and plan any sexual activity.

We have also prepared some material explaining in detail what exactly happens in your body on different days of your menstrual cycle.

Day 1

The beginning of menstruation is the first day of the cycle. It is characterized by a sharp decrease of hormones produced by the ovaries, as a result of which the mechanism of endometrium rejection - the lining of the inside of the uterus - turns on. Simultaneously, a dominant follicle begins to form in one of the ovaries. After that, a new ovule capable of fertilization develops. Sometimes, during one cycle, a few dominant follicles develop, which means there is a high likelihood of multiple gestations.

During the menstruation period, the synthesis of prostaglandins is enhanced. They are hormone-like substances that contribute to uterine contractions and slightly open the channel of its neck. All this is aimed at the cleaning the uterine cavity of the rejected endometrium and blood clots. However, this process also turns the cervix into an open gate for infections. This is why it's important to take good care of personal hygiene and avoid sexual contact without barrier contraception during this period. The painful sensations that most women experience during the first days of menstruation are provoked by the activity of prostaglandins that trigger the sensitive uterine receptors. Some ladies prefer to limit their activity during these days and lie down more, which is not the right thing to do. The reason is that stimulating blood circulation helps clean the uterine cavity. This means that the endometrium comes out naturally faster and the period of discomfort is shortened. If you feel good, it would be great to walk a little bit and do a special circuit of exercises. 

It's also worth noting that prostaglandins can affect the whole body and cause the narrowing of blood vessels. This can cause headaches, low blood pressure, and general weakness. In order to reduce these symptoms, you should give up products that contribute to the narrowing of blood vessels. This includes coffee, dark chocolate, and strong meat broths. Prostaglandins sometimes affect intestinal motility and some women suffer from constipation and bloating. A diet rich in vegetable fiber will help you cope with these problems.

Days 2-6

During menstruation, the uterus turns into an open bleeding wound. The decrease in the level of estrogen deprives it of protective properties and the mucus that envelops its neck. The changes in the hormonal background, as well as the decrease in the amount of testosterone affects the whole body. During this period, rashes often appear, the skin becomes drier, the activity of sebaceous and sweat glands becomes intense, the hair lose brightness and susceptibility to dyeing and cosmetic procedures.

Together with the decrease in the intensity of blood secretions, the level of estrogen gradually increases. Usually the menstruation cycle completely ceases by the 5th or 6th day, however, alcohol consumption can affect its duration. The average volume of menstrual bleeding is normally around 100 ml which is enough to stimulate the work of immune system, accelerate metabolic processes and make the woman stronger in case of the lack of oxygen in the air. However, it's worth remembering that during this period, the level of hemoglobin decreases in the blood and this can result in iron deficiency anemia.

It is recommended to pay attention to cleansing and moisturizing the skin. This will help minimize the risk of pimples. Also, in addition to fiber-rich food, your diet should be full of food that will replenish the supplies of iron and vitamin C.

During menstruation, you should give up exhausting workouts, but can partake in physical activity.

Days 7-8

By this time, the inner shell of the uterus is completely restored and the level of estrogen and testosterone increases. The woman's body prepares for a possible conception and the regeneration of all its systems actively proceeds. During this period, ladies are extremely alert and lively due to the presence of male hormones that help improve concentration and increase reaction speeds.

Days 9-13

At this stage of the cycle, the woman becomes more playful and more attractive than at any other time. This is explained by the forthcoming ovulation which is accompanied by a slight increase of body temperature (on average, by 0.5о). Cervical mucus loses its density and acquires transparency, significantly simplifying the movement of spermatozoa. The level of testosterone in the body is approaching its peak.

You can dedicate the ninth day of the cycle to warm-up procedures for the face and the body; for example, go to the sauna, make a mask with a thermal effect or a warm wrap. The tenth day is good for machine cosmetology. Before ovulation, the skin is very susceptible to cosmetic procedures and medical cosmetics, as well as to ultraviolet light. Therefore, don't forget to apply sun-protection cream.

Day 14

With the onset of ovulation, the amount of estrogen sharply decreases, the dominant follicle envelope ruptures and the egg ready for fertilization is released into the abdominal cavity due to the activity of uterine fimbria. The production of follicle-stimulating hormone is replaced by the synthesis of luteinizing hormone ensuring the brain's hypothalamus reacts to the changes of estrogen concentration.

Depending on the ovary in which the ovum matured, there may be painful sensations in the right or left side of the lower abdomen. You should seek medical help if the discomfort feels too much and is accompanied by the release of a small amount of blood into the abdominal cavity.

On this day, your diet should be full of diverse food products rich in vitamin A and you should pay attention to painful sensations.

Days 15-19

If fertilization has not occurred during the ovulation period, the egg goes to the uterine cavity in order to leave it together with unnecessary endometrium (the formation of which is triggered by progesterone, irrespective of pregnancy) during the next menstruation. Luteinizing hormone or LH turns the ruptured dominant follicle into a yellow body. It produces progesterone, the concentration of which increases day by day. Due to the increase of the amount of this hormone, endometrium gradually thickens.

Many women notice an increase in appetite at this period in their cycle. This is explained by the fact that progesterone seeks to 'accumulate' as many nutrients for the future child as possible, even though there was no conception. Metabolic processes slow down, cholesterol concentration increases in the blood, fatty acids split with low intensity and carbohydrates transform into a lipid mass more actively. Therefore, at this stage women can gain weight and suffer from swelling. However, they still feel energized due to the high level of testosterone.

At this phase of the cycle, it is worth replacing simple carbohydrates with complex ones and minimizing the consumption of products containing cholesterol. Peeling will help remove excessive fat content in the skin, ginger and herbal teas will relieve swelling, and physical activities will help strengthen the peristalsis of the intestine.

Day 20

The activity of the yellow body and the concentration of progesterone are at their peak. The egg is practically in the uterine cavity and its ability to conceive is minimal. This signals the onset of a relatively safe period when pregnancy is unlikely.

An ice cube massage or cryotherapy will help you cool a little bit.

Days 21-24

In this phase of the menstrual cycle, the production of LH and progesterone decrease and the yellow body enters the stage of reverse development forming connective tissue. Metabolic processes are still slow, the tendons soften and this increases the risk of various traumas. At this period, women feel somewhat apathetic and even lazy, however, they are still stress-resistant and balanced.

Days 25-28

The yellow body becomes white, while the level of all hormones rapidly decreases and PMS begins. Spa procedures will help improve the mood.

In order to calculate your ovulation days, install a woman's calendar on your phone and it will tell you which day of the cycle you are in and will also help control your health.

Undoubtedly, the menstrual cycle is individual for every woman. However, relying on this information and our recommendations, you can make your special days more harmonious and comfortable, which will positively affect your quality of life.

READ ALSO: Vaginal Bleeding After Menopause: 9 Things That Can Cause It, And When To Be Concerned


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not treat yourself, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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