What is the menstrual cycle?

Our menstrual cycle involves a few days of bleeding, called menstruation, that occurs roughly every 28 days. The number of days in our cycles can be less than 28 days or more. The number can also change from cycle to cycle, sometimes with fewer days and sometimes with more.

We usually start counting the days of our cycle from the first day of bleeding – this is our ‘cycle day’ 1.

Our first day of bleeding is our cycle day 1

As well as bleeding, every cycle we also release an egg.This occurs around days 14 to 16 in our cycles. Many women don’t notice the event, but some women feel a slight pain or notice a difference in the mucus that comes from their vagina.

We release an egg around cycle days 14 to 16

After the release of the egg we enter the pre-menstrual phase and women can experience PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome. These are days when we can feel very emotional and have a number of physical symptoms such as food cravings, feeling bloated and irritable, or needing more sleep.

How does our cycle make us feel?