What is menstrual cycle? Which hormones regulate menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is a series of cyclic physiologic changes that take place inside the female reproductive tract in primates. The whole cycle takes around 28 days to complete. The end of the cycle is accompanied by the breakdown of uterine endothelium, which gets released in the form of blood and mucous through the vagina. This is known as menses.
The follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone are the various hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The level of FSH and LH secreted from the anterior pituitary gland increases during the follicular phase. FSH secreted under the influence of RH (releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus stimulates the conversion of a primary follicle into a graafian follicle. The level of LH increases gradually leading to the growth of follicle and secretion of estrogen. Estrogen inhibits the secretion of FSH and stimulates the secretion of luteinizing hormone. It also causes the thickening of the uterine endometrium. The increased level of LH causes the rupturing of the graafian follicle and release the ovum into the fallopian tube. The ruptured graafian follicle changes to corpus luteum and starts secreting progesterone hormone during the luteal phase. Progesterone hormone helps in the maintenance and preparation of endometrium for the implantation of the embryo. High levels of progesterone hormone in the blood decrease the secretion of LH and FSH, therefore inhibiting further ovulation.