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Write an essay on menstrual cycle.

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The menstrual cycle is a reproductive cycle that takes place in the females of the group of primates. The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases:
(i) Menstrual phase: It extends from 1
st
  to 4
th
  day of the cycle. It occurs in the absence of fertilisation. During this phase, bleeding occurs as the endometrium of the uterus is sloughed off. The menstrual flow consists of secretion of endometrial glands, cell debris, unfertilized ovum. After 4
th
  day, once again the FSH secretion from the pituitary is resumed and the new follicle starts developing.
(ii) Follicular phase: When the ovary is in this phase, the uterus enters in the proliferative phase. This takes place from 5
th
  to 13
th
  day of the cycle. During this phase new primordial follicle in the ovary develops due to the action of FSH from the pituitary. It gradually changes into the Graafian follicle and the production of estrogen starts. Only one follicle develops in one cycle. Corresponding to the changes in the ovary, the uterus also undergoes proliferation. Endometrial glands, stimulated by estrogen do repair process of the uterus.
(iii) Ovulatory phase: During this phase, ovulation takes place. It usually occurs on 14
th
  day. Mature Graafian follicle ruptures due to LH secreted by the pituitary. Graafian follicle bursts and releases the ovum. This ovum along with the follicular fluid is picked up by the fimbriae of the infundibulum of the fallopian tube. It passes through the fallopian tube, where, if it happens to meet a sperm, it is fertilised. If not fertilised, the ovum degenerates.
(iv) Luteal phase: It corresponds with the secretory phase in the uterus. It takes place between 15
th
  to 28
th
  day of the cycle.

Ovarian changes: In the ovary, corpus luteum is formed from an empty Graafian follicle. Progesterone is secreted now. If the ovum is fertilised, corpus luteum is retained. LH and LTH from pituitary help in the maintenance of corpus luteum. If the ovum is not fertilised, corpus luteum degenerates and forms corpus albicans.

Uterine changes: Under the influence of progesterone, there is an increase in the thickness of the endometrium. Endometrial glands grow and become secretory. Progesterone is responsible for the maintenance of pregnancy. When fertilised ovum reaches the uterus, it is implanted and the placenta is formed. Till placenta becomes functional corpus luteum keeps on producing progesterone. But when progesterone source is cut off, endometrium sloughs off and menstruation begins.
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