File:Menstrual cycle.png

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Human Menstrual Cycle Hormonal Overview

Diagram showing hormonal changes during the "typical" human menstrual cycle.
  • There is great variability in human menstrual cycle length and progesterone and estrogen hormone levels.
  • There can also be cycle, age, genetic and pathology dependent changes in hormone levels.
  • GnRH - gonadotrophin releasing hormone (from hypothalamus, a 10 amino acid peptide hormone)
  • FSH - follicle stimulating hormone (from anterior pituitary, a glycoprotein hormone)
  • LH - leutenizing hormone (from anterior pituitary, a glycoprotein hormone)


  • Cycle days are numbered (-14 to +14) with respect to peak (0) of mid-cycle leutenizing hormone surge.
  • Cycle days are often numbered (1 to 28) from the first day (1) of menses.
  • Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) is released from about 1000 neurons within the hypothalamus in a pulsatile manner.
  • Leutenizing hormone (LH) increases mid-cycle driving ovulation.
  • Ovulation occurs during this mid-cycle LH surge.
  • Not shown are the Inhibin A and Inhibin B levels.
  • New figure version is more accurate for body temperature and estrogen changes.
  • Even more smoothed hormonal curves are often shown in simplified diagrams.

Links: menstrual cycle | ovary | uterus | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | Week 1 | Week 2


  • The pituitary and ovarian hormone curves are based upon Greenspan's Endocrinology, where the actual levels have been measured.
  • The body temperature curve is based upon Sex differences and reproductive hormone influences on human odor perception. Doty RL, Cameron EL. Physiol Behav. 2009 May 25;97(2):213-28. Epub 2009 Mar 9. Review. Erratum in: Physiol Behav. 2009 Oct 19;98(4):517. PMID 19272398
  • HPG Axis based upon NIAAA Alcohol’s Effects on Female Reproductive Function, Mary Ann Emanuele, M.D., Frederick Wezeman, Ph.D., and Nicholas V. Emanuele, M.D. Figure 1
  • Uterus changes cropped from

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, February 23) Embryology Menstrual cycle.png. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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current13:21, 20 May 2011Thumbnail for version as of 13:21, 20 May 20111,000 × 750 (122 KB)S8600021 (talk | contribs)
10:16, 9 April 2010Thumbnail for version as of 10:16, 9 April 20101,000 × 977 (186 KB)S8600021 (talk | contribs)Human Menstrual Cycle Original File Name: 1000px-MenstrualCycle2_en.svg.png Image Source: Category: Menstrual Cycle Category:Reproductive Cycle Category:Cartoon Category:Graph