How well do you know your menstrual cycle?
It's a lot more than just your period! Did you know that your cycle is made up for 4 phases? They are:
- The Menstrual Phase
- The Follicular Phase
- The Ovulation Phase
- The Luteal Phase
Science-y sounding words you don't recognise? Hear me out! Each of these phases has its own, very important part to play in the regulation of your hormones and menstrual cycle. So, if you're someone who frequently experiences irregular periods, PMS or pain, the trick could be to look into each phase for some hormonal troubleshooting...
An easier and less daunting way to look at it would be to correlate each phase with a season. Let's begin with the menstrual phase!
The Menstrual Phase
Your period, the wintertime of your cycle.
Just as winter suggests, you're likely to be feeling a little low on the energy side of things. That's because your reproductive hormones are at their lowest point while your body works hard to shed the uterine lining and release the blood.
Speaking of releasing things, the menstrual phase is also greatly symbolic of letting things go. If there's anything that you're holding onto, now is the time to give yourself permission to release it.
Listen to your body in this time and prioritise rest as much as your life allows you to. Focusing on downtime and replenishing your batteries will set you up well for the rest of your cycle! If you don't, you might just find yourself running on empty later.
The Follicular Phase
The follicular phase follows your period and its all about fresh starts and new beginnings! Your oestrogen levels are on the rise, and so are your energy levels and feelings of zest, motivation and new ideas!
Oestrogen levels rise here in preparation for the release of an egg that occurs (hopefully!) during ovulation.
If there's ever a time to feel inspired, entertain new ideas and get creative, it's now. Try something new, whether small or big. Change your usual daily walk route, sign up for that yoga class, or even, apply for that job or new role you've been eyeing up!
The Ovulation Phase
We've all heard this word, ovulation whether you're looking to conceive or avoid it altogether. Regardless, this is your fertile window of the month when an egg is released from an ovary which then begins to produce the hormone progesterone.
After spring comes summer, and your peaking oestrogen levels make you abundant with energy! This is your best self, you're feeling confident, sexy and glowy so ride the wave, be active, socialise and live your best life!
The Luteal Phase
What goes up, must come down - and that's the same with your hormones, ladies. After it's peak oestrogen starts to come down after ovulation while progesterone slowly rises.
Energy levels are coming back down and you might be feeling a bit slower. That's because it is time for autumn, and what happens in autumn? Leaves fall, it starts getting colder and nature gets ready to hibernate through the winter.
Make an effort to slow down. Progesterone really helps here as it provides calming effects on the nervous system. Be patient and kind to yourself but firm in your boundaries and decisiveness.
So that is your cycle in a nutshell!
Now don't worry if you can't relate to all of these. Everyone's body is different, what's important is understanding your own. To be in touch with your body means that you know when things are going right, and when something is off. This is simply a guide.
A great way to start learning more about your cycle is to track it. There are some great user-friendly apps out there to get you going!
If you do experience very bad PMS, extreme/debilitating period pain chronically irregular periods, get in touch with your health practitioner and naturopath to receive guidance on what could be happening.