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Knowing the symptoms of your period can help you to determine when your period is due. Many women experience acne or feelings of low mood. Many women will notice a change in their skin as acne develops predominately around the chin and jawline, showing hormonal change. To find out more visit our period symptoms page.
How to track your period
There are now many apps that you can use on your phone to track the stages of your period and find out when it is due. You can also track your menstrual cycle using a calendar or diary. It is also recommended that you track any changes in your mood, appetite and body. For example many women feel irritable before their period or your breasts might feel tender.
To be able to predict when your next period will start you will need to know:
- when your last period started
- how many days your periods last for
- how long your menstrual cycle normally is
The stages of the menstrual cycle:
Day 1 – First day of your period. The blood and tissue lining the womb (uterus) breaks down and leaves the body. For many women bleeding lasts for five days, however it can last from 2 -7 days. Levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body are low, this can make you feel irritable or depressed.
Day 1 through 5 - fluid filled pockets called follicles develops in your ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg.
Between days 5 and 7 – A number of follicles can develop and grow while others are absorbed back into the ovary. The levels of oestrogen in your body continue to rise.
Day 8 - Increasing levels of oestrogen in your body, this makes the lining of your uterus grow and thicken. Usually by day 8 your period bleeding has stopped.
Day 14 or a few days before - Your oestrogen levels peak around this time, and the now mature follicle will release an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation.
Day 15 through 24 – The fallopian tubes help the released eggs travel towards the uterus. The follicle makes more of the hormone progesterone which helps the uterus lining thicken even more. If a sperm joins the egg in a fallopian tube and it becomes fertilized, the egg will usually continue down the fallopian tube and attach to the lining of the womb (uterus). This is when pregnancy begins.
Day 24 - if the egg is not fertilised and you are not pregnant your oestrogen and progesterone levels drop. This may cause your moods to change. In the final step of your menstrual cycle the unfertilized egg leaves the body with the uterine lining and this begins day 1 of your period.
What is considered the last day of my period?
When you are keeping track of your period you will want to note down the first day you see blood. However at the beginning and end of your period you could notice discoloured discharge from your vagina, this can vary in colour from light pink to dark brown.
The last day of your period is the last day that you notice any bleeding or discoloured discharge. If you experience any vaginal discharge throughout your cycle this will return to a light yellow colour, or whatever is normal for you. For most women a period lasts for five days however this can vary in length and can last up to 10 days.
The average menstrual cycle is the monthly hormonal change that the body goes through to prepare for pregnancy and it is usually around 28 days long. However your cycle can be anything from is 21 to 40 days in length.
Variation in your menstrual cycle is completely normal, and there are lots of reasons why your period might be late. For example lifestyle factors such as stress and diet can affect your cycle or if you have recently changed to a new contraceptive pill. To find out more visit our late period page.
If your cycle follows the average of 28 days long you will ovulate on or around day 14 although this can be a day or two earlier or later. When you ovulate you release an egg from your ovaries, once the egg is released it lives for 24 hours. The days that you are most fertile in your menstrual cycle are fairly fixed they depend on when you are ovulating rather than on when your period ends. Depending on your menstrual cycle you will ovulate around 10-16 days before your next period.