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4 Stages of the Menstrual Cycle

The 4 Stages of the Menstrual Cycle

July 21, 2022

Most people only think about their menstrual cycle during the time that people get their periods, but in actuality, there are 4 stages of the menstrual cycle. The more you know, the better you flow, so let’s dive in!

The Four Stages of the Menstrual Cycle


Stage 1 of the Menstrual Cycle: Menstruation

The most well-known stage of the menstrual cycle is called Menstruation. This first stage of the cycle begins when someone gets their period – when the thickened lining of a uterus, which would support a pregnancy, is no longer needed, so it sheds through the vagina.

Menstruation typically lasts 3-7 days but varies from person to person. 

Follicular Phase

Stage 2 of the Menstrual Cycle: Follicular Phase

The follicular phase starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation, creating an overlap of phases. The follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates the ovary to produce around five to 20 follicles (tiny nodules or cysts), which bead on the surface.

Each follicle houses an immature egg; most often, only one follicle will mature into an egg while the others die. 


Stage 3 of the Menstrual Cycle: Ovulation

Typically occurring between days 11 and 21 of the menstrual cycle, the ovulation stage is when someone is most likely to get pregnant. 

Can you get pregnant when you’re not ovulating?

Ovulation begins when a mature egg is funneled into the fallopian tube and toward the uterus by waves of tiny, hair-like projections. The life span of the typical egg is only around 24 hours. Unless it meets a sperm during this time, it will die.

Luteal Phase

Stage 4 of the Menstrual Cycle: Luteal Phase

Once ovulation occurs, the follicle that contains the egg transforms into something called a corpus luteum and produces progesterone and estrogen. The luteal phase often involves hormonal changes such as mood changes, headaches, acne, bloating, and breast tenderness.

If an egg is fertilized, progesterone supports the early pregnancy. If no fertilization occurs, the corpus luteum will break down between 9 and 11 days after ovulation. This results in a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels, bringing us ALL the way back to the first stage of menstruation if no pregnancy has occurred.

How much did you already know? How much surprised you? 

If you want to learn more about periods, menstrual equity, and more, follow us on our social channels – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Ready to jump in and get Aunt Flow in your office, school, or organization? Check out our high-quality products and pick the perfect period plan for you!

Sources: Better Health Channel and Healthline

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claire coder,founder + ceo

claire coder,
founder + ceo

Hi! I’m Claire. I founded Aunt Flow after getting my period in public without the supplies needed.

At 18 years old, I dedicated my life to developing a solution to ensure businesses and schools could sustainably provide quality period products, for free, in bathrooms. Our products are made with organic cotton and we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact! Since 2021, we've donated over 5 MILLION period products to menstruators in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®