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What happens during the ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle?

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The ovulatory phase, or ovulation, starts about 14 days after the follicular phase started. The ovulatory phase is the midpoint of the menstrual cycle, with the next menstrual period starting about two weeks later. During this phase, the following events occur:

  • The rise in estrogen from the dominant follicle triggers a surge in the amount of luteinizing hormone produced by the brain. This causes the dominant follicle to release its egg from the ovary.
  • As the egg is released (a process called ovulation), it is captured by finger-like projections on the end of the fallopian tubes. These protusions, called fimbriae, sweep the egg into the tube.
  • There is also an increase in the amount and thickness of mucus produced by the cervix (lower part of the uterus) during this phase. If a woman has unprotected intercourse during this time, this thick mucus captures the man's sperm, nourishes it, and helps it to move towards the egg for fertilization.

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 luteal phase of the menstrual cycle?

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