Menstrual cycle: understand what happens in each phase throughout the month – 08/24/2021

After a delay in the cycle and worries related to a possible pregnancy, Rita wakes up relieved to find that she is menstruating. From there, she starts a walk through her own cycle in order to understand what she feels and what happens in each period of the month.

So begins the second of four episodes of “A Pepeca tá ON”, animated webseries of universe about female sexuality. The adventure is conducted by Rita’s vulva, which is voiced by actress Maria Bopp. “This series talks about sexuality in a light and accessible way. I, at least, am very embarrassed to talk about sex. The possibility I had to talk, play and even enjoy audio giving voice to Pepeca was amazing and a lot of fun,” he says. Mary.

After all, why do we bleed?

Menstruation occurs because of the shedding of the endometrium, which is the inner layer of the uterus. During the cycle, which lasts approximately 28 days, this tissue becomes thicker to accommodate a possible pregnancy. And if pregnancy does not occur, it is eliminated and blood comes. The process seems difficult to understand, but it’s not that complicated.

In the follicular phase, which begins on the first day of menstruation, the production of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) increases, causing the eggs to mature. In this part, the ovaries increase the amount of estrogen, which acts to coat the uterus for a pregnancy.

By the 14th day of the cycle, estrogen levels are up and produce a hormone called luteinizing, which “selects” an egg for elimination by the ovary—in this part ovulation occurs.

In the last 12 days of the cycle, there is an increase in progesterone, which prepares the endometrium for a possible pregnancy. Together, estrogen continues to work, and as a result, some people complain of breast pain, mood swings, and fluid retention.

When there is no fertilization, the production of hormones decreases until the endometrium desquams, starting menstruation and, therefore, a new cycle. Delay, in turn, does not always mean pregnancy. Issues such as stress, excessive weight loss or gain, hormonal problems and other issues related to intimate health also interfere with the calendar.

And how do you know she’s coming?

Many people with a uterus can tell exactly when their period is on its way. The first signs are symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, the famous PMS.

At this stage, there are changes in mood and some signs in the body. “It is common to feel swelling, even in the feet and hands, due to fluid retention”, highlights Isa Prudente, a gynecologist and director of the Associação Bahiana de Medicina.

What does the color say about my period?

During the menstrual period, some variation in blood colors is also normal. The change in tone does not necessarily mean an illness.

The brown flow, with the appearance of coffee grounds, may indicate that oxidation has already occurred. It is most common in the first and last days of menstruation, for example. The bright red tone shows that the endometrium has just flaked off. In some cases, it can manifest in clot shapes, with a thicker, more gelatinous appearance. Light pink blood, on the other hand, can indicate infections caused by candidiasis or other fungi. It’s worth looking for a gynecologist.

More than worrying about the color, it is important that the woman notice drastic changes in the flow. According to gynecologist Larissa Cassiano, who specializes in high-risk pregnancy at USP (University of São Paulo), when there is excess blood, the change can be caused by fibroids, polyps and other diseases that affect the uterus.

The use of medications can also influence this aspect. Anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, cause a decrease in blood during menstruation. Already anticoagulants can thin the blood.

But what about the odor?

The blood that is expelled has no smell. Mild changes can mean, again, just oxidation on contact with air. However, when there is a very strong and characteristic odor, it lights up the alert for illnesses.

The gynecologist emphasizes that the smell of fish or meat may indicate inflammatory processes in the woman’s intimate region. “It is usually preceded by a discharge before menstruation,” he says. When this occurs, it is essential to seek a doctor and do gynecological exams to identify any type of alteration.

About the series “A Pepeca tá ON”

The episodes air on Tuesdays, on Instagram, YouTube and the Universa website. In the next one, which will be published on August 31, Rita will visit a department store to see the contraceptives available on the market. In the last one, The Vulva Map, she already got to know every structure of the female reproductive system, like the vagina.

To warm up the conversation, a series of 16 articles are also part of the special, some already available in the Papo de Vagina section, on intimate health, sex, self-knowledge and self-esteem. Highlight for the PPKare trend, the intimate and sexual well-being market that arrived in Brazil during the pandemic, and the details of the launch of the book “Our Bodies for Us”, considered the Bible of women’s sexual health and a classic feminist, which took 50 years to have a Brazilian translation.