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What happens during the menstrual cycle?

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Females of reproductive age experience cycles of hormonal activity that repeat at about one-month intervals. With every cycle, a woman's body prepares for a potential pregnancy, whether or not that is the woman's intention. The term menstruation refers to the periodic shedding of the uterine lining. ("Menstru" means "monthly.'')

The average menstrual cycle takes about 28 days and occurs in phases: the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase (ovulation), and the luteal phase.

There are four major hormones involved in the menstrual cycle: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone.

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


Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on December 12, 2018

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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What happens during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle?

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