Succinctly, the menstrual cycle is the female reproductive cycle through which fertilization can take place. The cycle encompasses menstruation which is the shedding of the covering of the uterus, usually characterized by bleeding. Thus, the menstrual cycle is a repetitive process that prepares the womb for pregnancy by shedding off the uterus lining. If fertilization does not take place, the lining is then shed off. The menstrual cycle starts at puberty and occurs regularly except during pregnancy until menopause. Along these lines, the cycle starts at the first day of bleeding and ends just before the following menstrual period. Menstrual cycles ordinarily extend from around 25 to 36 days with only a few women having cycles that are precisely 28days. Be that as it may, most womens cycles are irregular. Menstrual bleeding extends for approximately five days. Subsequently, some hormones regulate this cycle. These hormones include the Luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, and progesterone. The LH and FSH are produced by the pituitary gland with the primary objective of promoting ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to make estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone then prepare the uterus and breasts for fertilization. Moreover, the cycle can be categorized into three distinct phases namely; Follicular, Ovulatory, and Luteal.
First, the follicular phase commences on the initial day that menstrual bleeding starts. The most significant aspect of this phase is the development of follicles in the ovaries. Towards the onset of this stage, the uterus lining is thick nutrients that are meant to support the egg after fertilization. The fertilized egg is known as the embryo. In the absence of the embryo, the estrogen and progesterone levels are lower which implores the lining of the uterus to shed as the menstrual bleeding. The pituitary gland heightens the FSH production, upon which the hormone stimulates the development of follicles, each with an egg in the ovaries. Progressively, the FSH levels diminish, and the follicles start to discharge estrogen. The follicle that grows first, known as the dominant follicle secretes the most measure of estrogen, and this release in this manner smothers the advancement of other follicles. The follicular stage occurs for close to 14 days and closes when the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) surges significantly.
Second, the ovulatory phase stems from the instance when the LH flows. The hormone fortifies the dominant follicle to enlarge and eventually burst from the ovary surface, letting go the egg. Next, the hormonal increments are at a lesser rate. The ovulatory stage more often than not endures up to 32 hours and ends when the egg is released, around 12 hours after the increase in the level of luteinizing hormone. Next, the egg can be fertilized for just up to around 12 hours after its discharge.
Third, the luteal stage starts after ovulation and extends for close to 14 days just before a menstrual period, except when fertilization takes place. In this stage, the egg goes along the fallopian tube by wave-like movements brought on by the finger-like projections in the walls of the tube. The rest of the burst follicle in the ovary closes in the wake of discharging the egg and structures a structure called a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes substantial amounts of progesterone and estrogen and readies the uterus for fertilization. Progesterone makes the endometrium thicken, loading with nutrients to feed the potential fetus it in addition to making the bodily fluid in the cervix thicker, so that sperm and microscopic organisms are less inclined to enter the uterus. If fertilization does not occur, the corpus luteum declines, levels of estrogen and progesterone diminish, and another menstrual cycle starts.
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