PMS and the Stages of the Menstrual Cycle

woman with PMS during her period

When do PMS symptoms start? How do the stages of the menstrual cycle affect PMS symptoms? What is PMS exactly? PMS symptoms start to arise at a certain stage of our cycle, so when can you start preparing to manage these symptoms? Continue reading this blog post to learn more!

PMS and the Stages of the Menstrual Cycle: Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase of your menstrual cycle is when you are on your period. When an egg isn’t fertilised and your body realises that it is not pregnant, the lining of the uterus that has been built up in preparation for a pregnancy is no longer needed. The levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone decline, and the lining of the uterus is shed in the form of your period. The menstrual cycle lasts, on average, from 3-7 days. Although not symptoms of PMS as they will occur while you are menstruating, you may still experience symptoms such as cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings and sore breasts.


Follicular Phase

There is an overlap between the menstrual phase of your cycle and the follicular phase, as the follicular phase begins on the first day of your periods and lasts until you finish ovulating. During the follicular phase, your brain will release a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone will cause the ovaries to start producing approximately 5-20 small sacs called follicles, each of which will contain an immature egg.

Only the healthiest egg will mature, while the rest are absorbed by the body. When the sac-like follicle begins to mature, estrogen levels will increase and this will promote the lining of your uterus to build up again in preparation for a fertilised egg. The follicular phase lasts an average of 11-27 days. It is uncommon to experience PMS symptoms during the follicular phase as PMS symptoms usually begin around 5-11 days before your period begins.

Ovulation Phase

The ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle begins when estrogen levels are rising and cause the release of a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH). Once this hormone is released, your ovary releases a mature egg which travels down the fallopian tube and you are therefore ovulating. The ovulation phase typically occurs in the middle of your cycle (day 14 of a 28-day cycle) and only lasts about 24 hours. Therefore, in this short period of time, PMS symptoms would not be common. If the egg is not fertilized, it dissolves in the body.

Luteal Phase

The luteal phase of your menstrual cycle is when you are most likely to experience PMS symptoms. When the follicle releases a mature egg, it also releases the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This promotes the thickening of your uterus lining in preparation for a fertilized egg If you don’t get pregnant, the lining of the uterus sheds and levels of estrogen and progesterone decline. The luteal phase can last between 11-17 days and is the most likely time that you will experience the symptoms associated with PMS, such as abdominal pain, irritability, bloating and sore breasts.

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