Menstrual Events

The changes in reproductive hormones over the menstrual cycle trigger many physiological and behavioural responses

Below are listed some of these key changes, beginning and ending with menstruation (day 0 / day 28):

  • Day 1 – 5:  The average period lasts ~ 5 days, during which the body may release prostaglandins (causing cramps)
  • Day 6 – 11:  Estrogen levels rise during the follicular phase, making a woman feel more confident and flirtatious
  • Day 12 – 15:  Nearing ovulation, the woman will be most fertile – this is the best (or worst!) time to try for pregnancy
  • Day 14 – 15:  With ovulation, estrogen levels drop temporarily, which may lead a woman to feel cranky or emotional
  • Day 16 – 19:  Estrogen and progesterone release prepare for pregnancy and can lead to breast tenderness
  • Day 20 – 21:  If fertilisation hasn’t occurred by this point, the ovaries will stop producing estrogen and progesterone
  • Day 22 – 28:  Falling levels of hormones will cause irritability and may lead to craving for sugary foods (beware zits!)

Key Events of the Menstrual Cycle

menstrual moods