Women have approximately 450 menstrual cycles in their lifetime. It’s important to know the physical and emotional changes your body undergoes each month so you know how to work with your cycle. By understanding the hormonal changes that occur in the body, and incorporating the simple tips listed below into your daily routine, you can revolutionize your relationship with your period.
A menstrual cycle is the result of a hormonal dance between the pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries. Every month the female sex hormones prepare the body to support a pregnancy, and without fertilization, menstruation occurs.
Phase 1: Your Period
The first day of bleeding is considered day one of your menstrual cycle. Typical periods last 3-7 days. During the first few days of your cycle, both estrogen and progesterone levels are very low. This causes fatigue in the body, and may make you feel irritable or withdrawn. To combat these feelings, try soaking in the bath tub, writing in a journal, or meditating. These activities will help ease your stress and reflect on the month ahead.
Phase 2: The Follicular Phase
This phase begins right after menstruation. Starting around day 4-5, estrogen levels gradually begin to rise and the pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH begins the process of maturing a follicle (fluid-filled sac in the ovary containing an egg). During this phase, your mood, energy and patience increases. Additionally, you will crave adventure, new experiences, and social settings. High estrogen levels also make you braver, more confident, and ready for a challenge. Don’t be afraid to engage in highly social settings or try a new sport during phase two!
Phase 3: Ovulation
All of your body’s hard work has paid off when ovulation occurs! During ovulation, an egg is released from its follicle in your ovary and will survive for 16-32 hours. Estrogen and testosterone rise to peak levels, boosting the effects of the follicular phase. You will feel thr most confident during this phase, so it will be easier to express your thoughts and feelings. Plus, your sex drive will be at its highest!
Phase 4: The Luteal Phase
The beginning of this phase will feel a lot like the ovulatory phase. After the first few days though, estrogen drops. It has the potential to make you sad, irritable or anxious. At the same time, progesterone levels begin to increase. The second half of this phase is notoriously known as “PMS” to women. You might crave carbs and experience headaches, bloating, and mood swings. Now is a good time for watching Netflix, eating healthy foods, and trying to find balance in your life.
The female body experiences hormonal highs and lows throughout the month. Considering what is happening with your hormones may help to explain why some days you feel like you can conquer the world, and other days you feel like you are dragging your booty out of bed.