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The luteal phase It is the third phase of the menstrual cycle, it begins just after ovulation and runs until the day before the next menstrual period begins. This phase normally lasts 12-14 days, but can also last 10-16 days.
Its development is different when the ovum has been fertilized, than when it prepares for the next cycle. In the event that fertilization does not occur, it is characterized by premenstrual syndrome, a stage that is distinguished by symptoms of depression, breast tension, mood swings and irritability, among others.
This stage, after ovulation, is characterized by the appearance in the ovary, after the release of the ovum, of a tissue very rich in cholesterol, yellowish in color, which gives its name to the corpus luteum, since it is also known as the yellow body .
This tissue begins to form large amounts of progesterone, whose main function is to prepare the endometrium, thickening its walls, to feed the fertilized egg until the latter can be nourished by maternal blood through the placenta. Progesterone also stimulates the cervix to secrete a very thick mucus, which prevents the entry of germs, so that they cannot affect the growing egg.
Implantation of the fertilized egg takes place around 7-10 days after ovulation, and progesterone levels will continue to be high throughout the pregnancy. The life of the corpus luteum or corpus luteum guarantees that progesterone and estradiol can continue to be secreted, which allows the development of the walls of the endometrium that will serve to feed the fertilized egg.
Progesterone, therefore, dominates this phase and is the main hormone involved in the increase in basal body temperature. After ovulation, the ovary produces progesterone and small amounts of estradiol. Progesterone and estradiol are the key hormones responsible for changing the structure of the endometrium. If you don't know the length of your luteal phase, check out our ovulation calculator for the most likely fertile days to get pregnant.
1. Preparation for pregnancy
If you have been lucky and have managed to get pregnant, your egg has been fertilized. From this moment, the egg cells will begin to transform and later the placenta will secrete a new hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, which can be detected in maternal blood through a blood test or a simple pregnancy test. to confirm pregnancy.
The mission of the hormone chorionic gonadotropin is to ensure the vitality of the corpus luteum and that it continues to produce large amounts of progesterone, which maintain the secretion of nutrients in the endometrium to feed the fertilized egg until it can be fed by the placenta. The yellow body is essential during the first 10 weeks of gestation.
2. Preparation for the next period
If conception has not occurred, that is, if the egg has not been fertilized, the empty follicle contracts. This signal causes the levels of estrogen and progesterone to drop because these hormones are no longer needed. However, as the empty follicle contracts, it continues to produce progesterone and also begins to produce estrogen. For this reason, some women experience symptoms of premenstrual tension (PMT), such as breast tenderness, swelling, lethargy, depression, and irritability during this phase.
On the other hand, the endometrium, without the high hormonal levels that help maintain the thickening of its walls, begins to lose bulk. The thick lining of the womb begins to break down and is expelled through menstruation. It is the beginning of the period and the beginning of the next cycle.
You can read more articles similar to Luteal phase, ovulation and menstruation, in the category of Calculators and calendars on site.