The 4 phases of your cycle and how to understand them
Written by Rebecca
Have you ever wondered what's happening inside your body during the non-bleeding season? Well, get ready to dive deep into the world of hormones and the role they play in our cycle! From ovulation to PMS, we're exploring it all. Let's get into it! 🏊🏼♀️
Hormones, what's good? - We might give them a hard time when we're feelin' moody or breakin' out. But they don't deserve the hate. Hormones are like messengers, sent by our glands to all the right places in our body to make sure things run smoothly. They're essential for regulating our health and behavior. And while hormones aren't the only factor in how we feel, they definitely have a big impact on our everyday lives. We're gonna talk about the big three hormones that rule our cycle: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone.
Menstrual cycle lowdown - A menstrual cycle usually lasts 28 days, but it can vary from person to person and sometimes change month to month. The cycle revolves around two main events, menstruation and ovulation (when your body grows and drops an egg). These events make up the four phases:
Follicular phase (AKA Spring Vibes):Your body's shaking off that period funk and gettin' ready to shine. Embrace that energy boost and thank estrogen for the ride.
Ovulation (Summer's Here!): All the hormones are lit, making you a boss in work and play. Soak up this fertile window and catch those swimmer vibes.
Luteal phase (Autumn Chill): Time to wind down, with progesterone leading the way. Don't stress, take time for self-care and get those to-dos done today.
Period (Winter's Coming) : Hormones dip, blood arrives, and it's time for some rest. Keep things low key with chill exercise and nourish your body best.
Your hormones are fluctuating during each phase of your cycle and that means physical and emotional changes. They can affect your skin, how you handle stress, your horniness levels, and even the discharge in your undies. And it's not just hormones causing these changes. Life events, your health, weight gain, your yoga sesh, all that good sex... basically anything can affect your cycle.
That's why workin' with our hormones (when we can) is a major win. Tracking the changes in your body as you move through your cycle can give you a real understanding of why and how your body does what it does!
What's the follicular phase?
A few days after the first day of your period, FSH and LH are released (FSH stands for follicle-stimulating hormone, and LH stands for luteinizing hormone). These are two hormones released by the pituitary gland in the brain that play a critical role in the menstrual cycle (and ovulation) and getting your ovaries hyped to produce around 15-20 eggs, each in its own little home called a follicle. Only one egg will make it down the fallopian tube runway in the end.
As the follicles develop, one of them becomes dominant and starts to grow larger, producing estrogen and becoming less responsive to FSH. It's also preparing your uterine lining for a possible fertilized egg. You might notice more cervical fluid and vaginal lube as your body moves closer to ovulation in the second week.
Mood: Estrogen levels are on the rise and it's like your body is ready to turn up! You might feel more hyped, motivated, and ready to socialize. Get out of your period hibernation and enjoy your boost in energy! 🤸🏻♀️
What happens during ovulation?
As your estrogen levels peak, blood flow to your vagina increases and you might notice some seriously clear, stretchy cervical fluid - some people call it "egg-white" cause it looks just like that!
Just before ovulation, LH enters the scene with testosterone, and there's a surge of LH that stops estrogen production. This is what makes the lead egg burst from its follicle and glide down the fallopian tubes. If there's any sperm waiting around, it's got a chance of getting fertilized.
Mood: All the female hormones working together can make you feel like you can conquer the world. You might feel sexier, friskier, and more confident. Your skin might be looking' on point, your features more balanced, and you might be feeling' ready to try new things. Testosterone can also give you a boost in physical performance, which is great for anyone who likes to workout. Some might experience some cramping around this time, but don't worry, it usually only lasts for a day or two.
What is the Luteal phase?
During the luteal phase, progesterone takes the lead and soars to the top. This usually happens around day 21 in a 28-day cycle. At the same time, estrogen is still high. Regardless of if you're pregnant or not, estrogen and progesteroneteam up to get the uterus ready for a fertilized egg.
Mood: Progesterone may hit you with some low-key vibes, causing you to feel more introverted and down for some solo time. But, on the flip side, it can also bring a chill, relaxed and happy vibe, making it the perfect moment to connect with your partner, whip up a delicious home-cooked meal, or just kick back and enjoy a good movie with some snacks. ️
If you get hit with PMS, you might experience sore boobies, bloaty feelings, being tired AF, feeling irritable or down, and cravings for some bomb food.
What happens during your period?
A period marks the beginning and end of the hormonal cycle. The levels of estrogen and progesterone go all the way down. When progesterone drops rapidly, it triggers the shedding of the uterus lining, causing a period. Once the lining is shed, the cycle starts fresh. (Just remember, when tracking your cycle always starts from day one of your period, not the last day).
Mood: Without progesterone's chill vibes, you might feel all the feels: teary, tired, emotional, anxious, or just off. But hey, on the flip side, your period finally arriving can bring a sense of relief. Bye to the bloating and emotional ups and downs. 👋🏽
Everyone's cycle is unique, but paying attention to these monthly changes can give you a better understanding of your body and that's always a win! Life's busy enough without having to worry about period-related stuff, which is why our period starter kit has got you covered. Get organic cotton tampons, pads, and liners delivered straight to your doorstep, no matter what phase you're in.