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What Your Cycle Can Teach You About Yourself

health

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5 min read

What Your Cycle Can Teach You About Yourself blog

by Team Thinx | 26/03/2024

Medically reviewed by Dr. Saru Bala

When it’s that time of the month, it can make a simple task like making your bed impossible, a paper cut feels like a gaping wound, and the grocery store being out of your favorite brand of almond milk seems like a sure sign of the end of the world. This surge of emotions comes from increased hormone levels wreaking havoc on your mood.

As a menstruator, you’re likely well aware that premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the symptoms that occur in the days leading up to your period, can make even the sunniest day feel like rain. But did you know that your cycle can affect how you feel throughout the rest of the month, as well? And it’s not all bad. 

What are the phases of the menstrual cycle? Let’s break down the four different phases of your cycle and how and why they can impact your emotional and mental wellbeing: 

The Follicular Phase 

Moods: 😊😀

The first day of the follicular phase is on day one of your period. Your brain signals to release the follicle-stimulating hormone, leading to a rise in estrogen that steadily increases over this first part of your cycle. You may notice that your premenstrual symptoms start to wane, leading to a boost in your overall mood and energy levels. This phase lasts until you ovulate.

Ovulation

Moods: 🥰😉

The ovulation phase occurs over a day or two mid-way through your cycle when the ovary releases an egg, following a sudden rise in estrogen levels and a surge in the luteinizing hormone. You may experience an increased libido and sex drive during this time, and even feel sexier and flirtier. Your sex drive is not the only thing that’s heightened, you may also find you have an increased sense of smell, taste, or vision, as well. A change or increase in discharge can be a signal of ovulation.  

The Luteal Phase

Moods: 😡😭

At the beginning of the luteal phase, you may feel relaxed and sleep better as progesterone increases and stimulates calming neurotransmitters to the brain. However, as you get closer to your period, serotonin (otherwise known as the “happy chemical”), progesterone, and estrogen levels dip and can result in lower moods, sluggish feelings, and decreased motivation and energy. These symptoms, along with fluctuations in hormone levels, can also be related to blood sugar issues as progesterone causes us to be less sensitive to insulin resulting in cravings, mood swings, and fatigue. This phase is from ovulation until your period starts. 

Menstruation

Moods: 😔🙂

As your period begins, you may find some of your premenstrual symptoms lingering, then easing as the days progress. Menstruation occurs when an egg hasn’t been fertilized, and causes estrogen and progesterone levels to drop. This typically lasts between three days and one week, depending on your cycle length.

Remember, a normal menstrual cycle varies from person to person. Recognizing and understanding patterns in your cycle as well as its symptoms is the first step in prioritizing your reproductive health. 

Check out our educational video hub on YouTube to learn more from experts like Dr. Bala, a Naturopathic Doctor and Thinx Partner specializing in women's hormonal health, and join our mission to empower all who pee and bleed with shame-free body literacy education. 

The information contained in this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care professional.

sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8906247/ 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1474704919848116 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0018506X23001046 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10132-menstrual-cycle 

by Team Thinx

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