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Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is the female body's monthly pattern of preparing for a possible pregnancy. The uterus grows a new lining called the endometrium; one of the ovaries releases an egg; and then, if the egg is not fertilized by sperm, the endometrium sheds from the uterus as a menstrual period.
The thickened lining of the uterus (endometrium) is shed, causing menstrual bleeding. Day 1 of the cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding. Bleeding usually lasts for 4 to 6 days.
The lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for pregnancy. Also, inside a sac (follicle) on the surface of an ovary, an egg becomes ready to be released.
The egg is released (ovulation). Women's ovulation days can range from about day 7 to day 22 of the cycle. But for an individual woman, the ovulation day is usually quite consistent.
Current as of: November 8, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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