The 4 Phases of Your Period Are Important to Understand — Here’s Why


Welcome to POPSUGAR Uninhibited, a space where anyone with a period can come for advice, recommendations and support. Here, we’ll tackle topics like PMS, sustainability, post-partum periods and bring you first-person experiences in our period diaries. We also want to raise awareness around period poverty, with the aim to ignite change with the help of our launch partner Modibodi and charity partner Share the Dignity. You can find all of the stories here

Most people experience close to 450 menstrual cycles throughout their lifetime, and while periods are usually perceived as a burden, each cycle goes through four phases, and each one brings its own unique emotional and physical strengths along with it.

Yes, going through your period is hard, but when you learn to understand your cycle, your relationship with your body will change entirely. Let’s talk about the four stages and how to recognise them.

Phase 1: The Menstrual Phase

The first day of your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of bleeding, which is when the hormone progesterone dips rapidly, causing the uterine lining to shed. Otherwise known as your period. Usually, a period lasts anywhere from three to seven days, and in between this time, you may experience symptoms such as cramps and depleted energy. During this phase, it’s important to take it easy, and to make time for yourself by resting or meditating.

Try to avoid going to big social gatherings, and instead spend the night at home by yourself, whether it’s taking a nice relaxing bath or binge-eating chocolate on the couch. Focus on your body and listen to what it’s asking from you. If you want to exercise during this phase then keep it light, something like yoga and walking is ideal.

Phase 2: The Follicular Phase

The follicular phase starts immediately after menstruation. During this time, the pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which excites the egg cells to grow in the ovaries. Out of all the cells, one egg begins to mature in a sac-like-structure called a follicle and takes 13 day to fully grow. In this phase, estrogen and testosterone levels begin to increase and will give you a sudden boost of energy and often, improve your mood. You may feel more confident and assertive.

Thanks to the testosterone, your libido will be stimulated while the estrogen will suppress your appetite and make you feel more extroverted. During this time, it’s best to brainstorm and problem solve as your social battery will be off the charts. This is also a great time to get some strenuous exercise in, so go outside and get physical.

Phase 3: The Ovulatory Phase

By the ovulatory phase, your body has done a lot of hard work, and now is the moment you get to reap the fruits of your labour. During this stage, an egg will release from the follicle in your ovary and will survive for 12-24 hours.

Around this time, your estrogen and testosterone levels will reach their peak and your overall appearance will look its best, plus, your sex drive will be at its highest. When in the ovulatory phase, try to schedule job interviews, networking events and maybe even a date night. During this stage your energy levels are at their highest so enjoy it!

Phase 4: The Luteal Phase

The luteal phase is when your estrogen and testosterone levels begin to decline, and your body starts to produce progesterone. Progesterone is famously known as the anti-anxiety hormone, so it’s around this stage when you start to feel more relaxed. Unfortunately, the second half of this phase is quite difficult. You may start to get PMS symptoms such as cravings, bloating, headaches etc. During this time it’s important to practice self-care and rest when you find you need to.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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