Hormones and menstruation: what happens during the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is directly related to hormonal variations. During the entire cycle and all the days that follow, hormones influence the cycle and the menstruation. They guarantee the proper functioning of the reproductive system.

What are the hormones related to menstruation and the menstrual cycle?

The release of hormones is completely natural, but it is also synonymous with the arrival of menstrual disorders. Every month, a small organ in the brain produces afollicle-stimulating hormone and a luteinizing hormone to trigger ovulation. The ovaries will then in turn produce more substances such as progesterone and estrogen to produce an egg and stimulate the uterus to accommodate a potential pregnancy.


At the time of puberty, they are responsible for the development of the female genitalia and have a role to play in :

  • the uterus and the thickening of the uterine lining
  • the growth of the breasts
  • the brain
  • the quality of the skin and hair
  • the development of fat and cellulite
  • the production of oocytes

Estrogens will act at the beginning of the cycle and until the end of ovulation. The secretion of this hormone is due to the action of FSH, thefollicular stimulation hormone, which stimulates the development of a certain number of follicles. During the first few days of menstruation, the estrogen level is at its lowest and will start to increase as FSH increases and follicles develop in the ovaries. When estrogen levels are highest in the blood, you may see cervical mucus, a clearer, more viscous white discharge.


The follicles will then begin to produce a new hormone called progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone that will strengthen theendometrium to support an embryo. Throughout the process, the unfertilized follicle will begin to break down and continue to produce progesterone in addition to secreting estrogen. This hormone will have an impact on the periods and notably on the premenstrual syndrome. Various symptoms may appear at the beginning such as breast pain, bloating and mood changes. If they are too important, it is important to consult your health professional or gynecologist.

What are the effects of hormones on the menstrual cycle?

Hormonal variations will affect the length of menstrual cycles but also the symptoms present in the body. On average, a woman's cycle repeats itself and lasts 28 days. Hormones will intervene in a rhythmic way and reproduce themselves monthly!

From the first day of menstruation to ovulation

We observe two phases from the first day of menstruation to the production of an ovum by each ovary. The hormones of menstruation are not yet present, but the estrogens cause theendometrium to thicken. Throughout this phase, the ovarian system is preparing to ovulate. Then the luteinizing hormone, LH, will release an oocyte that will migrate through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

From ovulation to the first day of the new menstrual cycle

From halfway through the previous cycle of bleeding to the first day of the new cycle, hormone production will activate progesterone. This is called the luteal phase (or progesterone phase). During this phase, the empty follicle will transform into a corpus luteum which will secrete progesterone that will stimulate the uterine lining. At the end of this phase, if there was no fertilization, it will detach and evacuate by the vaginal ways. This is the return of the period and a new cycle!

How do hormones impact the body during menstruation?

Hormones will not only impact the menstrual process, they will also impact the symptoms, libido and physiological changes of the menstruating woman. Hormonal variations will trigger symptoms that are more or less easy to live with for women until menopause. They are known to have effects on

  • libido
  • the digestive system
  • the size and sensitivity of the breast
  • the mood

An increase in libido

From a hormonal perspective, as we approach the ovulatory period, estrogen levels increase and libido increases. The peak of the estrogenic hormone occurs at the time when a woman is most ready to get pregnant. Once each ovary has done its job, progesterone decreases libido. Sexual desire will then subside, particularly with the arrival of premenstrual syndrome and the various associated symptoms. As soon as menstrual loss arrives, the hormones of the period will gradually boost the libido. During menstrual periods, it is quite possible to have sexual intercourse, especially since the pleasure will release endorphins that will calm the symptoms of menstrual pain!

Disorders related to menstruation

Hormonal variations will have an impact on menstrual disorders in women. In fact, a heavy load causes impacts on the development ofendometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, for example. Hormonal disorders related to the menstrual period are frequently observed and can be the cause of psychological and physical discomfort. The menstrual flow can also be :

  • painful (dysmenorrhea)
  • abundant and long (menorrhagia)
  • irregular or absent (amenorrhea)

Hormones during the menstrual flow and the cycle play a determining role.

A physiological change

Indeed, under the influence of hormonal variations, the woman's reproductive system will evolve in several phases and repeat itself over time. Hormones are completely natural in the physiological changes observed. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor or a gynecologist if these physiological changes are too restrictive.

Hormones and menstruation FAQ

What are the effects of hormones on menstruation?

Hormones play a determining role in the menstrual flow. Hormonal variations are involved in all phases before, after and during menstruation. They trigger the blood flow, the ovarian system and the expulsion of the corpus luteum. In addition to a direct link with the onset of menstruation, hormones will trigger important physical and psychological symptoms.

Which hormones decrease during menstruation?

When a new menstrual cycle begins, menstruation makes its appearance. Two substances are at their lowest: estrogen and progesterone. They trigger menstrual bleeding and menstrual symptoms such as stomach aches or menstrual migraines.

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