A lot of the time when we think about our menstrual cycle, we only consider our ‘period’, but over the course of each month there is a complex cycle of events taking place in our bodies which affects our energy, moods, libido and general wellbeing.
Know your menstrual cycle
A lot of the time when we think about our menstrual cycle, we only consider our ‘period’, but over the course of each month there is a complex cycle of events taking place in our bodies which affects our energy, moods, libido and general wellbeing. The more you understand about how the menstrual cycle works, and get to know your particular cycle, the better you can plan your month and work with it instead of feeling like it’s just an inconvenience.
What is the menstrual cycle?
It is (roughly) a 28-day cycle controlled by the female hormones. Your first period is called menarche and starts around age 12 to 13, but may be earlier or later in some girls. Your last period is called menopause, and the average age for this is 51 to 52 (but this also differs between women).
The reason for the menstrual cycle is to prepare your body for pregnancy. Your body goes through 4 phases each month to get ready for a pregnancy, and this starts over again if a pregnancy doesn’t occur. The timings of each phase differ slightly depending on what length cycle you have.
There are different levels of hormones interacting at each phase, and these can affect how you feel. Once you know what phase you’re in, you can work with your cycle to concentrate on activities that make the most of your mood, energy and general wellbeing.
What are the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle?
Hopefully knowing what is happening in your body during your cycle has given you some insight into ways you can work with your cycle. But remember everybody is different, and it’s always important to listen to your body and do what feels good. The best way to start working with your body is to track your cycle (and moods and energy levels) using an app, or in your diary. You will soon start to see patterns forming and will figure out what works best for you.
Keep an eye out for more information on Fertility Choices about working with your cycle.