What You May Not Know About Your Menstrual Cycle

You got your first period and boom, you’re taught about a whole new important piece of your life—the menstrual cycle. Or at least, part of it. Most of us are taught about our period—but the menstrual cycle is so much more than that! Your menstrual cycle is the hormonal process your body goes through each month to prepare for a possible pregnancy. It starts on the first day of your period, and ends right before your next period, where it starts all over again.

There’s more to the menstrual cycle than many of us are taught, but with knowledge comes power, and empowerment. So, here’s what you may not know (but should!):


The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s cycle is this long, or short. Just like you, your menstrual cycle is unique. It may be regular—same length every month—or irregular, and, your period might be long or short, light or heavy.

A “normal” menstrual cycle for you may be not-so normal for someone else. It’s important to get to know your own, and pay attention to any changes that occur.


how to know about your menstrual cycle infographic

Every woman may not experience the same symptoms, or have the same flow, but all women go through four parts of the menstrual cycle, month over month. Yes, you read that right—there are four parts of your menstrual cycle, and they overlap to become one reoccurring circuit. You may feel different in each phase, because your hormones are constantly changing. Some parts may come with bothersome physical and emotional symptoms, while others will have you feeling like your best self.

  1. Menstruation Your menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period, also known as menstruation. Each month, a woman’s body prepares for pregnancy and when no pregnancy occurs, the uterine lining sheds—resulting in vaginal bleeding. During menstruation your hormones can plummet, which may result in symptoms such as cramps, bloating, tender breasts, irritability and fatigue.
  2. Follicular Phase The follicular phase begins in tandem with the first day of your period, but ends later, with ovulation. During this phase estrogen levels rise as an egg prepares to be released. During the follicular phase, after menstruation, many women report feeling their best due to rising hormone levels and may even have more energy.[2]
  3. Ovulation About two weeks into your menstrual cycle, you’ll release an egg. This is known as ovulation. If the egg is fertilized, pregnancy can result. Both estrogen and testosterone levels rise to peak levels around ovulation, which can result in a higher sex drive.[3, 4] However, you also may experience discomfort, breast tenderness and bloating.[5]
  4. Luteal phase The last phase of your menstrual cycle, the luteal phase, begins with ovulation and continues until the first day of your period. At this time, your ovaries produce progesterone and the uterus prepares for a fertilized egg to implant. If the egg is not fertilized, it passes through the uterus and the next menstrual period begins. Premenstrual symptoms (PMS) occur during the luteal phase because of sensitivity to changing estrogen and progesterone levels.[6] Premenstrual symptoms are a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that many women experience about a week or two before the onset of menstruation, resulting in symptoms like irritability, anxiety, breast soreness, acne and bloating.


As you can see, each phase of your menstrual cycle comes with normal hormonal fluctuations, resulting in different physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can leave you feeling less than your best, but luckily, there’s something that can help.

New AZO® Hormonal Health supplements can help you feel your best all month long. When taken daily, the naturally-sourced ingredients in AZO® Hormonal Health can help women proactively manage physical and emotional symptoms due to their monthly cycle*.

AZO®’s Hormonal Health line offers two formulas to help address the most bothersome physical and emotional symptoms associated with the monthly menstrual cycle like bloating, irritability and breast tenderness, along with your specific needs like breakouts and stress. They’re designed with hormonal fluctuations and your unique menstrual cycle in mind*.

If you experience any changes in your normal symptoms during your monthly cycle, consult a healthcare professional to discuss. You should always consult a healthcare practitioner before adding a new supplement to your routine.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

AZO® and AZO® product trademarks are trademarks of DSM.

  1. Reed BG, C.B., The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation., ed. A.B. Feingold KR, Boyce A, et al. 2018, South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc
  2. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/your-menstrual-cycle-and-your-health
  3. Shirazi, T.N., et al., Menstrual cycle phase predicts women’s hormonal responses to sexual stimuli. Horm Behav, 2018. 103: p. 45-53.
  4. Burleson, M., et al, Sexual Behavior in Lesbians and Heterosexual Women: Relationships with Menstrual Cycle Phase and Partner Availability. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2002. 27(4): p. 489-503
  5. https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/signs-of-ovulation/
  6. Yonkers, K.A., P.M.S. O’Brien, and E. Eriksson, Premenstrual syndrome. The Lancet, 2008. 371(9619): p. 1200-1210.