2/4 The Menstrual Cycle. The follicular phase

After discussing, last week, the period, let's continue our discovery of the period . Let's focus this time on the follicular phase. The menstrual cycle has several phases: the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase and the luteal phase.

Periods are part of the follicular phase. As the rules are an important event of the cycle, we decided to make it an article in its own right. However, the follicular phase is not just about menstruation. What is happening in our body at this precise moment in the cycle? Can you experience certain symptoms? What does the follicular phase do? What does “follicular” mean?  

Loulou continues to unravel for you the female cycle. We think it is essential to know everything that is going on in our body. This is essential to know yourself, to understand yourself, to calm your doubts, your anxieties, in short to better live your daily life as a woman! Follow us, it's not that complicated, I promise!

follicular phase

The follicular phase in the menstrual cycle

Let's continue our exploration of the menstrual cycle. The female cycle is a cyclical process that repeats itself endlessly. It undeniably starts over and over again and aims to prepare the female body for a potential fertilization.

The menstrual cycle consists of several phases. Usually, it is said that a cycle takes place on 28 days. In reality, it varies significantly. It's normal. It is never exact and precise. It can therefore be a little shorter (25 days) or a little longer (35 days). Whatever the length, the follicular phase is at the beginning of the cycle and usually corresponds to the first fourteen days.

Fourteen days, or the equivalent of approximately half the female hormonal cycle. These fourteen days always begin with menstruation and always end with ovulation, which is another phase of the cycle. Again their duration varies from one woman to another, from one cycle to another. On average, periods last a short week, between 3 and 6 days.

Remember that a cycle always starts on the first day of your period. With the arrival of your period begins a new cycle and therefore a new follicular phase.


Follicular phase Q&A

What happens during the follicular phase?

During the follicular phase, theendometrium is expelled because there was no fertilization during the previous cycle. In other words, menstruation or menstrual bleeding takes place. This happens because estrogen and progesterone levels are low. At the end of the period, everything starts again for the umpteenth time.

The follicular phase is also called pre-ovulatory phase. In other words, everything is in place to prepare for ovulation, which will take place around the 14th day of the cycle.
THEhypothalamus releases a hormone GnRH. This in turn stimulates the pituitary gland (another gland in the brain). L'pituitary then secretes FSH, an essential hormone to stimulate the follicles.
In your ovaries, many follicles have been present since you were born. They carry oocytes inside them. We can thus imagine a follicle as a bag. With the secretion of FSH, these follicles wake up and move. They are stimulating. Only one manages to pull out of the game and emerge mature, the dominant follicle. It is called the Graafian follicle. It releases an egg which is ready to be fertilized. It is no longer the follicular phase but ovulation. Phase that we will see next week.

The mature follicle produces estrogen. These begin to prepare the uterus for potential fertilization of the egg. Estrogen levels peak 24 hours before ovulation.

How long does the follicular phase last?

On an average cycle of 28 days, the follicular phase normally lasts 14 days. However, it is the phase of the menstrual cycle that can vary the most. So it can lengthen or shorten. This is why it can be difficult for some to know when they are ovulating exactly (and therefore difficult to get pregnant). In pre-menopause, the follicular phase tends to shorten.

Doctors consider a follicular phase to be short if it lasts less than 10 days. In this case, the released oocyte will not have had time to mature properly.

On the contrary, a follicular phase is considered long when it has more than 25 days. In this case, the cycles are longer. The woman concerned has fewer ovulation windows in the year than a woman with a normal 28-day cycle. the PCOS is one reason among others.

What symptoms can you experience during the follicular phase?

Diametrically opposed, you can feel different states during this phase. When you have your period, you may feel very tired or have some pain more or less intense in the lower abdomen or lower back. Not all women experience these manifestations. And that can change from cycle to cycle.

Once your period is over, you feel lighter. You have moreEnergy, you are in a good mood and full of good positive vibes. The estrogen level increases gradually over the days, this is normal. This is truly the most serene and positive moment in the cycle. No pain, no SPM, not in a bad mood. You don't have cravings, you are motivated to play sports and you stay more focused on your tasks.

Can you get pregnant during the follicular phase?

This is not the period of the cycle when you are most fertile, however, be careful, your ovulation may occur earlier than expected. Always keep in mind that it is important to protect yourself whatever the moment of your cycle, if of course you are not looking to get pregnant.

What problems can the follicular phase experience?

As you will have understood, the follicular phase refers to the process of formation of a viable, reliable and fertilizable oocyte. However, his journey is strewn with pitfalls and may encounter several obstacles.

Already, the follicular phase can be compromised if there is a failure in the brain glands, pituitary and hypothalamus. If the hormonal secretion necessary for the proper development of the follicles does not occur or is insufficient, then the process is corrupted.
The SPOK, which we have already discussed, is the first reason forinfertility in the world. The follicular phase can encounter difficulties in the event of stress, jet lag, significant weight loss or gain. A early menopause can also be a reason.

Whatever the problem, it is absolutely necessary to talk about it to a competent health professional. Solutions exist to better live your menstrual cycle.

Next week, we'll cover the ovulatory phase in detail!