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What happens during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle?

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This phase starts on the first day of your period. During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, the following events occur:

  • Two hormones, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are released from the brain and travel in the blood to the ovaries.
  • The hormones stimulate the growth of about 15 to 20 eggs in the ovaries, each in its own "shell," called a follicle.
  • FSH and LH also trigger an increase in the production of the female hormone estrogen.
  • As estrogen levels rise, like a switch, it turns off the production of follicle-stimulating hormone. This careful balance of hormones allows the body to limit the number of follicles that mature.
  • As the follicular phase progresses, one follicle in one ovary becomes dominant and continues to mature. This dominant follicle suppresses all of the other follicles in the group. As a result, they stop growing and die. The dominant follicle continues to produce estrogen.

SOURCES: National Institutes of Health. The Merck Manual. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.


Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on December 12, 2018

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: National Institutes of Health. The Merck Manual. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.


Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on December 12, 2018

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