Oh, to be a female. Some days we haemorrhage and have the world on a string, other days we’re moody AF and then other days we feel like an energizer bunny on speed. It’s a vicious cycle, but indeed a four phase cycle we live by and one that is very much needed to keep the cadence going.
Elaboration needed? I digress.
Each female is allocated a certain amount of days per month for bleeding (you can’t get out of this one unless you are on contraception and are skipping the pill every month like the teen you used to be) or to make a baby.
Each female is unique and fabulous in their own way, and the same goes for your cycle. A cycle can range between 28-35 days, menses lasting 3-7 days and your fertile window lasting 5 days in total, including that extra special day to create a mini-me, and then there are all these other random days in between.
With that being said, we’re not all unicorns, life inserts many plot twists, and as a result, we’re often getting ourselves into a hormonal pickle. Your menstrual cycle bears the brunt of any conniption, alcohol or drug-induced binge, poor diet, flights cross country or you may have been experiencing irregularities which may or may not be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis.
So, what is actually happening month to month.
A bloody time is initiated on day 1 of your cycle, when that red, red, wine pours out of us for 3-7 days. You can expect a scarlet shade and low energy due to decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone. Whilst your uterine walls are shedding, you’re also letting go of energy that no longer serves you. For XX chromosomes, we tend to hold a lot of our energy, trauma, and triggers within our womb space so, this phase is also a time to ring in the new, accompanied by a sigh of relief. She came and you conquered.
Flo has officially left the building and our gal pal estrogen is on the rise. The follicular phase will stimulate the growth of your follicles (future bebs). As these puppies grow, they’ll produce estrogen, the star of the show, which will peak right before ovulation. Your cervical fluid has now transformed into a thick and creamy spread. No suckers are getting through this line of fire.
If a future beb is on the mind, this next phase is when you’ll be taking flight, also known as ovulation, days 12-17 of your cycle. Whilst you are sitting on the royal throne and polishing your pearl, do you ever notice a little more slip and slide mid-wipe? This is because your mucus has transformed into a clear, slippery, and stretchy nectar. Prime time for those swimmers to freestyle or backstroke. The choice is yours.
Once estrogen has reached its upper threshold, the egg is ready to be released into the wild. Whilst this is all happening, our brain is producing a surge of luteinising hormone (LH), which will trigger ovulation. Progesterone is fashionably late, but we love them for it, progesterone is what helps set us up for pregnancy and will rise just after ovulation, we need them for reducing inflammation, regulating immune function, as well as supporting our thyroid, brain, and bones.
We either just created the gift of life or we’re due for a crime scene in our pants. Estrogen has just dropped us like its hot and progesterone wants our number. All the good stuff is about to whack us in the face cue PMS-like symptoms – bloating, fatigue, mood swings, cramping, acne, and tender breasts. To clarify, these symptoms are not ‘normal’ per se but are common amongst the femme community. That spicy sauce aka cervical fluid will convert to a white and dry consistency.
Let it be known, every month is allowed to be different or best-case scenario, the exact same. I want you to feel empowered by your puss and all that she can do, and understanding your cycle is at the top of the list in order to do just that.