Menstruation matters – this month I am inviting you to track your cycle – not for ovulation necessarily but to help you listen to your body!
If you already follow me you know at each new moon I offer guidance for the month ahead. This helps you build a healthy fertility programme step by step. Each new moon indicates the beginning of a new cycle so today – November 26th 2019 I have pulled 2 #fertilityinspiration cards to focus on this month
As explained this month my focus invites you to track your menstrual cycle. I encourage you to try this because it helps listen to your monthly cycle and explore how it speaks to you.
This is really important because
- A healthy menstrual cycle has two very different and specific halves
- helps you realise what is “your normal”
- helps you identify where and when your cyclic imbalances may be arising.
- Helps you understand your ovulation window
- Understand your cyclic imbalances (such as extreme emotion, painful sex, cyclic vaginal bacteria, extreme blood loss, period pain; PMS and PMDD). These are becoming so common most people just accept it as a normal symptom of menstruation. But believe me – it is not normal so let’s find out where you are!
- Follow the immune system of your reproductive tract
- Connect with the sacred energy cycle and the personal power it brings.
Put simply the menstrual cycle is a symphony of hormones, with specific timing and levels. Each hormone connects to provide a cyclic hormone orchestra for you to be at your best and conception ready. In order for the menstrual cycle to occur monthly, many other hormones need to be in place including, the adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones and insulin.
The menstrual cycle begins in the brain with a signalling chemical released from the basal part of the brain called the hypothalamus which triggers a drop in the levels of the female hormones from the previous cycle. So begins the cycle of potential life.
Christine Northrup MD explains “The menstrual cycle is the most basic, earthy cycle we have. Our blood is our connection to the archetypal feminine. The macrocosmic cycles of nature, the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of the tides and the changes of the seasons, are reflected on a smaller scale in the menstrual cycle of the individual female body. The monthly ripening of an egg and subsequent pregnancy or release of menstrual blood mirror the process of creation as it occurs not only in nature, unconsciously, but in human endeavor. In many cultures, the menstrual cycle has been viewed as sacred”
So how are we going to track this month? It’s easy. Simply
If you have symptoms that I have not added just add them on!
Menstruation and fertility
Studies show that peak rates of ovulation and conception tend to occur around the full moon. Generally more women tend to begin their menstrual flow around the new moon (interestingly I have found this is the total opposite for many women who come to see me with fertility concerns) and my Creation Fertility Toolkit and guidance cards connect with this cycle. There is plenty of scientific research which has documented that the moon rules the flow of fluids (ocean tides as well as individual body fluids) and affects the unconscious mind and dreams.1 The timing of the menstrual cycle, the fertility cycle, labour and also death follows the moon-dominated tides of the ocean. Environmental cues such as light, the moon, and the tides play a documented role in regulating women’s menstrual cycles and fertility. If you are interested in this I have included some links to my past blogs on this topic below.
The Menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle governs the flow not only of fluids but of information and creativity. We receive and process information differently at different times in our cycles.
Menstruation matters – the follicular/ estrogen half. Before Ovulation
Emotional follicular phase: Many women find in the first half of their cycle – that’s post bleed to ovulation their energy is high; they are enthusiastic, outgoing and upbeat. On the expanded level of ideas and creativity, this first half of the cycle is a very good time to initiate new projects.
Physical follicular phase: After the brain trigger is called into action, Follicle stimulating hormone, FSH is released from the pituitary gland into the bloodstream and stimulates the ovary to begin the maturation of a follicle. When the follicle begins to grow it produces estrogen, which is necessary to support the growth and maturation of the ovum and the follicle. Tiny concentrations of single hormones create multiple effects in various organs at the same time.
- Estrogen stimulates growth of the endometrial lining of the uterus
- switches off the FSH
- grows the follicle to maturity – There is a very intimate relationship between estrogen and the follicle because it needs estrogen to grow. As it grows it produces more estrogen which is why there is an exponential rise in estrogen as the follicle approaches maturation. It is these same high levels of E2 that cause the brain to release LH, which bursts the follicle to release the ovum at ovulation.
- The importance of the estrogen feedback prevents multiple follicles; allowing all the recourse to go to one single healthy dominant follicle.
- Estrogen is made from testosterone, which in turn is made from progesterone.
- During this time an egg grows and develops, while deep within the wall of the uterus circular collections of immune system cells, known as lymphoid aggregates, also begin to develop.4
Menstruation matters – Ovulation ideally occurs around midcycle.
- There is an abrupt rise in the neuropeptides FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).
- Stimulates the release of an ovum from the follicle which, if it meets with the sperm in the fallopian tube fertilisation takes place to form an embryo.
- At ovulation the empty follicle becomes the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum manufactures progesterone, which is necessary for the endometrium’s maturation, and which prepares it for embryo implantation around day 20
- Co-incides with a simultaneous peak in testosterone production which enhances visual-spatial ability while also increasing libido.
- Has been associated with a rise in left-hemisphere activity (verbal fluency) and a decline in right-hemisphere activity (visual-spatial ability, such as the ability to draw a cube or read a map).5
- Around ovulation mental and emotional creativity it at its peak. You are naturally more open to ideas – more “fertile.”
- Libido peaks and our bodies secrete into the air pheromones that increase sexual attractiveness to others.3
I do not like to support brand names as a general rule but Dr Colin’s offers this rather good info-graphic for you which I would like to share!
Menstruation matters: The luteal/progesterone half. Post ovulation
Luteal phase: These weeks following ovulation lead up to either a confirmed pregnancy or menses.
- The embryo travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus for 6 days, transforming into a blastocyst and eventually a corpus luteum
- Progesterone builds to support endometrium lining and implantation.
- Progesterone is the source for the manufacture of many of the steroid hormones. It is necessary for all healthy reproductive function.
- Progesterone is produced in the adrenal gland in small quantities but mainly it is made by the ruptured follicle called the corpus luteum.
- Emotionally from about day 21 onwards we tend to begin to withdraw, requiring more sleep with lower vitality.
- We may start looking into the “rear view mirror” and for some, the more negative or difficult aspects of our lives or fertility journey (premenstrual and menstrual phases).4 If you work with the moon like I do (luna) this energy is reflective and intuitive. It comes in our dreams, emotions, hungers and intuition. It is during this phase of the menstrual cycle that PMS or menopausal madness arrives. Studies demonstrate women’s dreams are more frequent and often more vivid during the premenstrual and menstrual phases of their cycles.1
I acknowledge the physical hormonal disturbances and cyclic bacteria imbalances that can cause this cascade of symptoms but women are most in tune with their inner knowing and with what isn’t working in their lives during this phase5
- If fertilisation has not taken place the corpus luteum dies after 14 days
- This causes progesterone levels to plummet.
- Resulting in the shedding of the endometrium and a bleed
- Menses ideally is bright red, with a moderate bleed lasting 2-3 days with some light bleeding on either side.
- A healthy cycle should be pain free
- Each cycle on average is between 26-30 days.
So – let’s get started!
connecting with your monthly bleed – this is a printable version of this article
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Please download connecting with your monthly bleed for all my references
Justine Evans ND – Hormone Alchemist is the founder of Creation Fertility and it’s products. She connects life with natural cycles and seasons, integrating Western science with nutritional therapy, traditional medicine and yogic philosophy. A Registered Naturopath, Nutritional therapist, Reiki Master/ Teacher, and well women yoga therapist Justine connects with Goddess energy and runs a private hormone health and fertility clinic in Surrey, London.