Female Hormone Cycle

Our handy female hormone cycle chart shows the cyclic variations in ovarian and gonadotropic hormones in a single resource, perfect for revision or education. 

By Alex King on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is a Female Hormone Cycle Chart?

The female hormone cycle can be daunting due to its complexity, the number of hormones involved, the various phases, and the interdependent feedback loops. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. With our female hormone cycle chart, we aim to condense this myriad of information into a single, approachable diagram to serve as a valuable go-to resource.

This female hormone cycle chart illustrates the rise and fall in gonadotropic and ovarian hormones over a 28-day cycle, highlighting key events such as ovulation and menstruation.

For illustration, this printable female hormone cycle chart depicts a 28-day cycle, but remember, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Uterine and ovarian cycles are highly variable between individuals. While some females will have a regular 28-day cycle, for others, it can be much longer, shorter, or more irregular, which is perfectly normal for them (Ernst & Watson, 2023). 

So, if you feel like you could brush up your knowledge of the female hormone cycle- you’ve come to the right place.

Printable Female Hormone Cycle Chart

Download this Female Hormone Cycle Chart to help patients track their hormonal cycle.

How Does this Female Hormone Cycle Chart Work?

This female hormone cycle chart works like a line graph that plots the concentrations of all the critical female reproductive hormones and their variation over 28 days or one full ovarian/uterine cycle. 

This chart is split into gonadotropic hormone concentrations, FH and LSH, ovarian hormone concentrations, estradiol, inhibin, and progesterone so you can see each change.

To read off the concentration values, simply use the Y-axis values provided, remembering that each hormone may use different units but plotted on the same axes to illustrate each hormone's relative concentrations better. 

The critical events of ovulation and menstruation are highlighted so you can see the hormonal events that lead to the onset of each. 

Female Hormone Cycle Chart Example (sample)

This Female Hormone Chart can help you provide important context for your patients’ blood test results, and to see how just take a look at our example Female Hormone Hormone Cycle Chart. This example shows how an apparently high estradiol blood test result can be placed in the context of the natural fluctuations over the course of the menstrual cycle. 

You can access this Female Hormone Cycle Chart digitally, or download the printable PDF version here. 

Download this Female Hormone Cycle Chart Example:

Female Hormone Cycle Chart Example (sample)

When Would you use This Chart?

This chart is designed to be used as a revision resource for anyone who needs to revise the female hormone cycle or a teaching resource for patients. 

The changes in hormones over the female cycle can be challenging to understand, so having a laid-out resource at your fingertips can be a game-changer for explaining more complex hormonal concepts. 

This resource can be provided to any patients who have an interest in the female hormone cycle, whether that’s due to them starting birth control, learning about fertility, or just for education or illustrative purposes. While we have included the critical time points of ovulation and menstruation, there is plenty of space to annotate or add extra notes to explain any concepts you wish using this female hormone cycle chart as an explanatory tool. 

Some of the practitioners who can benefit from having this resource on hand include:

  • Medical, nursing, or health sciences students
  • General practitioners
  • Gynecologists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Fertility Specialists
  • Obstetricians 
  • Midwives

Research & Evidence

Variations in female reproductive hormones throughout the ovarian and uterine cycles have been widely studied. They are based on known hormonal feedback loops and measured hormone levels in both human and animal models.

The underlying mechanisms that give rise to the hormonal changes shown in this resource are based on research in the past few decades and are primarily based on cross-talk, up and down-regulation of hormones controlled by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries (Taylor et al., 2020)

One key feedback loop is the inhibition of FSH and LH by high levels of estrogen and progesterone, such as during the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle. However, once estrogen levels reach a high enough concentration, the feedback loop switches and becomes positive rather than negative feedback- stimulating a surge in LH, which ultimately triggers ovulation (Hawkins & Matzuk, 2008).

Our female hormone cycle chart shows this in the spike in LH following peak estrogen levels just before ovulation. This chart depicts a cycle in which fertilization does not take place, and as such, the corpus luteum, which secretes estrogen and progesterone, will be reabsorbed to form the scar-like corpus albicans. The subsequent drop in ovarian hormone triggers menstruation (Ernst & Watson, 2023). 

References

Ernst, H., & Watson, S. (2023, September). Stages of Menstrual Cycle: Menstruation, Ovulation, Hormones, Mor. Healthline. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/stages-of-menstrual-cycle

Hawkins, S. M., & Matzuk, M. M. (2008, June). The Menstrual Cycle. The Menstrual Cycle and Adolescent Health, 1135(1), 10-18.

Martini, F., Ober, W., Nath, J., Bartholomew, E., & Petti, K. (2017). Visual Anatomy and Physiology. Pearson.

Taylor, H. S., Pal, L., & Seli, E. (2020). Speroff's Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. Wolters Kluwer.

How are female hormone cycle charts used?
How are female hormone cycle charts used?

Commonly asked questions

How are female hormone cycle charts used?

The x-axis of this chart represents time, and the y-axis is the concentration of each hormone. This chart can be used to understand better how each hormone varies in concentration throughout the 28-day cycle and how these variations lead to crucial events such as menstruation and ovulation.

Who can use this female hormone cycle chart?

This female hormone cycle chart can be a great visual tool for teaching purposes. If your patients are struggling to understand how their hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy, or if you want to illustrate the female hormonal cycle to explain fertility, this chart can be a great help. While we have aimed to keep this resource simple and accessible, it is likely that this chart alone will be insufficient to explain the complexities of the female reproductive cycle fully and is best used as a supplementary tool.

Which hormones are included in a female hormone cycle chart?

There are many hormones involved in the regulation of the female reproductive cycle, including gonadotropic hormones secreted from the anterior pituitary, as well as ovarian hormones. This chart illustrates follicle-stimulating hormone (FH) levels, luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, inhibin, and progesterone.

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