How well do you know your menstrual cycle?

How well do you know your menstrual cycle? A recent study (1) showed that ⅓ of women don’t understand their menstrual cycles. As women, we tend to brush aside the effect our hormones have on our well-being, when in-fact they are integral. Understanding your menstrual cycle and how you can optimise its impact is the key to feeling our absolute best.

Our hormone levels are continuously changing throughout our cycle, and because hormones are responsible for how we feel, our emotional and physical state continuously changes too.

This can often seem out of our control, but it’s not. There is a way to live in alignment with your hormones. During your cycle, hormones like Oestrogen and Progesterone peak and fall. We can tailor our diet and workouts to this in order to support these changes, with the goal of optimising how we feel, and minimising PMS symptoms.

Menstrual phase:

When: The first and last days of your period (approx 1-5).

Hormonal changes: Progesterone and Oestrogen are at their lowest

How should I be feeling?

Cramps, fatigue, diarrhoea and brain fog are among the many symptoms to be expected during this time.

How can I support this phase?

Embrace low-impact movement like stretching, walking and Yoga. Nourish your body with warming foods rich in Iron and Vitamin C.

 Follicular phase:

When: Days 6-11 (approx)

Hormonal changes: Oestrogen rises.

How should I be feeling?

Your energy and mood should start increasing during this time.

How can I support this phase?

This is the time to indulge in high impact exercise such as weight lifting, HIIT, running, Pilates. Treat your body to leafy greens and healthy fats.

 Ovulatory phase:

When: Days 11-16 (approx)

Hormonal changes: Oestrogen peaks during ovulation.

How should I be feeling?

You should have a strength and energy surge here. It is also the time where you are most fertile, so expect an increase in libido!

How can I support this phase?

Continue with those cardio and strength workouts whilst fueling up on Omega-3’s and B-Vitamins to keep your energy soaring.

 Luteal phase:

When: Days 17-18 (approx)

Hormonal changes: Progesterone peaks and dips.

How should I be feeling? PMS kicks in towards the latter half of this phase. This encompasses a range of symptoms that varies between each woman.

How can I support this phase? Clinical studies have made a great case for continuing moving your body, and increasing your turmeric and calcium intake to combat PMS.

 If this sounds complicated, KNOWYOURFLOW is a menstrual cycle tracker that can guide you through all four phases of your cycle, tailoring nutritional guides and workout plans and videos to support each phase. Visit www.knowyourflow.co.uk to learn more.