PMS and PMDD explained! WHAT IS THE LUTEAL PHASE OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE?

PMS and PMDD explained! WHAT IS THE LUTEAL PHASE OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE?

WHAT IS THE LUTEAL PHASE OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Between the menstruation phase and the ovulation phase, the luteal phase is a vital stage in a woman’s menstrual cycle. In this phase, your body is getting itself prepared for a possible pregnancy and undergoes several changes.

Here we explain the key characteristics, impact on your body, and processes that undergo during the luteal phase.

Duration

This phase usually lasts with an average of about 14 days. The phase begins after ovulation and ends after the start of menstruation.

Corpus Luteum

During ovulation, a chosen egg is released from a follicle, and this ruptured follicle transforms into a structure, called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum produces hormones, progesterone, and estrogen. These hormones thicken the uterine lining which stays if there is a pregnancy, or shed (in the form of periods) otherwise. If you are not pregnant, expect to be needing some of these!

Cushioning the Uterine Lining

The production of progesterone in this phase makes the uterine lining thick and creates a fostering environment for a fertilized egg.

Increased Body Temperature

Another key characteristic of this phase is how it increases your body temperature. If you check your temperature every day you will feel a slight rise in the luteal phase. The reason for this is the production of progesterone that surges the body temperature.

Cervical Mucus Blocking the Way

Luteal phase thickens the mucus in the cervix which is basically the connector between the uterus and vagina. This thick mucus acts as a barrier and becomes a blocking wall for the sperm from reaching the eggs.

Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS)

Women can experience PMS in the luteal phase. For some of us it can be worse than others. You can experience mood swings, headaches, depression, acne, social withdrawal, getting annoyed, tender breasts, and bloating if you are affected by progesterone and estrogen. For some, the dips do not affect mood as much.

Support early stages of Pregnancy

During the Luteal phase, if fertilization takes place, the embryo starts sending signals in the form of hCG. It is a hormone that announces pregnancy, boosts the production of progesterone, and helps in the growth of the fetus. This also helps in maintaining the thick lining of uterine lining and supports the early pregnancy, until the placenta comes into the spotlight.

 

No Pregnancy = Bye Bye Corpus Luteum

When a pregnancy doesn’t take place, the corpus luteum gradually gets out of the picture. The production of progesterone and estrogen starts declining. This gives a signal to the uterus to shed the thick lining of the uterus. Then you get your periods, and the menstrual cycle is started from scratch. You can read more menstrual cycle articles here.

 

To summarize, the luteal phase marks an end to and era (the menstrual cycle). It intelligently prepares your body for pregnancy or no pregnancy. Understanding this phase is one of the key factors if you want to opt for cycle syncing. This phase is critical and it helps the body transition to a new phase. 

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