Hormones and periods : what happens during the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is directly linked to hormonal variations. Hormones influence the cycle and periods throughout the cycle and every day thereafter. They guarantee the proper functioning of the reproductive system.

What hormones are linked to periods and the menstrual cycle?

The release of hormones is totally natural, but also synonymous with the arrival of periods disorders. Every month, a small organ in the brain produces afollicle-stimulating hormone and a luteinizing hormone to trigger ovulation. The ovaries 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 pubertyThey are responsible for the development of female genitalia and have a role to play in :
  • luterus and lthickening of the uterine mucosa
  • breast growth
  • the brain
  • skin and hair quality
  • the development of fat and cellulite
  • oocyte production

Estrogen acts at the start of the cycle and until the end of ovulation. This hormone is secreted by FSH, thefollicle-stimulating hormone, which stimulates the development of a certain number of follicles. During the first few days of menstruation, estrogen levels are at their lowest and begin to rise as FSH increases and follicles develop in the ovaries. When estrogen levels are highest in the blood, you may notice cervical mucus, a clearer, more viscous white discharge.


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

How do hormones affect the menstrual cycle?

Hormonal variations affect the length of menstrual cycles, as well as 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, reproducing themselves on a monthly basis!

From the first day of periods to ovulation

There are two phases, from the first day of menstruation to the production of an egg by each ovary. The hormones of periods are not yet present, but estrogen causes theendometrium to thicken. Throughout this phase, the ovarian system is preparing to ovulate. The luteinizing hormone LH then releases an oocyte, which migrates through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

From ovulation to the first day of the new menstrual cycle periods

From bleeding halfway through the previous cycle to the first day of the new cycle, hormone production activates progesterone. This is known as the luteal phase (or progesterone phase). During this phase, the empty follicle transforms into a corpus luteum, which secretes progesterone to stimulate the uterine lining. At the end of this phase, if there has been no fertilization, the uterus will detach and evacuate via the vaginal tract. It's back to periods and a new cycle!

How do hormones affect the body at periods ?

Hormones not only impact the menstrual process, but also the symptoms, libido and physiological changes experienced by menstruating women. Hormonal variations will trigger symptoms that are more or less easy for women to cope with, right up to the menopause. Hormones are notorious for their effects on :

  • libido
  • the digestive system
  • breast size and tenderness
  • lmood

An increase in libido

From a hormonal point of view, as the ovulatory period approaches, estrogen levels rise and libido increases. The peak of the estrogenic hormone occurs at the moment when a woman is most ready to get pregnant. Once each ovary has done its job, progesterone reduces libido. Sexual desire then subsides, particularly with the onset of premenstrual syndrome and its associated symptoms. As soon as menstrual periods begin, the hormones of periods gradually boost libido. During menstrual periods, it's perfectly possible to have sex, especially as pleasure releases endorphins that calm the symptoms of menstrual pain!

Disorders related to periods

Hormonal variations have an impact on periods -related disorders in women. Indeed, a heavy load of hormones can have an impact on the development ofendometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, for example. Hormonal disorders linked to the menstrual period are frequently observed and can cause psychological and physical discomfort. Menstrual flow can also be :

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

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

A physiological change

In fact, under the influence of hormonal variations, a woman's reproductive system will evolve in several phases over time. Hormones play an entirely natural role in these physiological changes. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor or gynaecologist if these physiological changes are too restrictive.

The FAQ of hormones and periods

What are the effects of hormones on periods ?

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

Which hormones are reduced by periods ?

When a new menstrual cycle begins, periods appears. Two substances are at their lowest: estrogen and progesterone. They trigger menstrual bleeding and menstrual symptoms such as stomach aches and menstrual migraines.

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