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Your Cycle: An Owner's Guide
Not sure when day 1 of your cycle is? Can't tell the difference between the luteal and follicular phases? We hear you! This quick, handy lesson spells out everything you need to know.The Follicular Phase
...is the beginning of your cycle (day 1 refers to the first day of your period). Low levels of estrogen and progesterone cause the lining of the uterus to shed. In the first half of this phase, the level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases slightly and a new egg develops. During the last part (typically starting on day 7), the ovaries begin to produce more estrogen and the uterine lining begins to thicken.The Ovulatory Phase
...starts around day 10 of your cycle, with a surge in FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH), which prompts the egg to be released (ovulation) around day 14. Estrogen peaks and the level of progesterone increases.The Luteal Phase
...starts around day 15, when levels of LH and FSH begin to ebb. The uterine lining finishes thickening. If the egg is not fertilized, the levels of progesterone and estrogen decrease through day 28 and then your period begins. Back to day 1.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2007.
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