We’re changing the narrative around hormones around here
Often women feel burdened by their monthly cycle, as the experience for many brings discomfort, pain, inconvenience, and changes in their moods and energy. We haven’t been taught to understand why we may be feeling this way or what is really happening in our bodies.
Every woman is unique in how her hormones respond to her environment. Her stressors, her history, and her current physical health, all play a role. Below is a general overview of your cycle so you have a general idea of what to expect at each stage.
This Phase lasts anywhere from 3-5 days with varying flow for every woman. Your hormones estrogen and progesterone are low and your endometrium (the lining of your uterus) is shedding as you detox the month both physically and emotionally. At this time, the body requires rest as you shed the old cells. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is beginning to rise in order to stimulate the growth of an egg in the ovaries to be released during ovulation.
The Follicular Phase
This phase begins as your period is coming to completion. A hormone called Estrogen begins to rise to signal the release of Luteinizing Hormone ( LH) , the hormone that signals the release of an egg during ovulation. In this phase your energy begins to climb again and your body does whatever it can to keep you feeling energized and attractive to get you ready for ovulation. This is where you may notice your libido starts to increase, you feel more outgoing, your workouts feel easier, and you can go longer periods without having to snack and can eat a more ketogenic low carbohydrate diet. This is all thanks to your estrogen and the little bit of testosterone that rises around ovulation.
The Luteal Phase
The luteal phase begins post-ovulation. During this time, estrogen begins to decline, testosterone has already declined, and progesterone is beginning to rise. Progesterone has anti-anxiety and calming effects in the body and mind. During this time of your cycle, your body requires you to be more reflective. Intensity and type of exercise will change as energy begins to shift. You may crave more healthy carbs, and your extraversion may shift to wanting to cozy up with a cup of tea and have some real “me time”. Libido tends to decrease, as this is the time in your cycle that your body is getting ready for an egg to implant, so it is providing it with a nurturing and quiet environment. When the body realizes there hasn’t been any fertilization of the egg, hormone levels fall and signal day 1 of your menstrual cycle, where the lining begins to shed and the bleeding begins.
These are the years leading up to menopause that can span a total of 10 years for some women. Hormones fluctuate and you may have many months where you don’t ovulate, causing your cycle to be longer and leading to more time between bleeds. Declining hormones may bring about symptoms like hot flashes, heavy bleeds, night sweats, anxiety, and even brain fog, especially when the cycle is inconsistent. The goal in these years is to keep as much consistency as possible through syncing what you eat, how you move, and the teas you drink, in an effort to support balance in your hormones.
This stage begins one year after your last menstrual cycle. Your hormones have found a new rhythm. Although you are no longer bleeding, your hormones do still sync with the rhythm of the moon. So syncing your eating habits, your moving habits, and your tea drinking habits will bring a state of familiarity and steadiness in your body. Although hormones have declined, you have ways to support yourself for longevity. These wisdom years are a new opportunity to create the life you want moving forward.
For more information on everything hormones see Dr Sonya’s blog and book below to better understand yourself and your hormones.