When we think about our menstrual cycle, our period is probably the phase we think of the most. It’s the most outwardly visible, and the one that (for some) causes the most pain.
Whilst menstruation isn’t the only phase of our cycle (there’s also the follicular phase, ovulation and our luteal phase) it’s a good place to start our Cycle Series, as the first day of your period is Day 1 of your cycle!
Here we'll break down exactly what’s happening in your menstruation phase and how you can adapt your diet and lifestyle to make your period feel more positive!
- Most people only lose around 30-50 ml of blood per period - but this can be more if you’re living with a condition like endo
- Your oestrogen and progesterone levels are lowest at the start of your period
- This dip in hormone levels is what can make you feel fatigued and bloated.
- When thinking about your cycle as seasons, menstruation is usually described as ‘Winter’ - a time for rest (yes, please).
The Science of Your Cycle - Menstruation
So - what’s going on in our body when we menstruate? Obviously, we’re bleeding for most of it, but it’s a bit more complicated than that!
The bleed we experience during menstruation is our womb shedding its lining - or endometrium. After an egg is released during ovulation, our body waits to find out if we’re pregnant or not. This egg - known as the corpus luteum - produces progesterone and a bit of oestrogen which tells the womb lining to thicken, in case the egg turns into an embryo!
If not fertilised, the corpus luteum will die after around 10 days - and with it, your progesterone and oestrogen levels will plummet. This is what triggers your period.
The low levels of oestrogen and progesterone can also trigger a bunch of symptoms like painful bloating, low energy mood and cramping. The good news is that as your period progresses your oestrogen levels will begin to slowly rise (and this means your mood usually will improve too!)
Menstruation and your health
Your period can actually tell you a lot about your health - so it’s actually an incredible time to tune in with your body. Everyone’s flow is unique, but generally speaking, we would expect a healthy period to last between 3 and 6 days and the average person releases around 30-50 millilitres of blood, so around 6-10 tampons worth.
If you are experiencing heavier periods, that you struggle to manage with period care products this could be another sign of endometriosis or other conditions like fibroids or adenomyosis. On the flip side, if your periods are lighter than usual or you’re experiencing spotting, it could be an indication your progesterone levels are low.
How you might feel during menstruation
For the first couple of days of your bleed, it’s not uncommon to feel pretty fatigued - your body is busy doing something pretty incredible after all.
You might also suffer from pain and cramping - and whilst a little discomfort is normal during your winter phase, if you are in agony, or it’s impacting your life, definitely go and see a doctor, as it’s probably a sign that something isn't right.
The good news is that, if you struggle with low mood in your luteal phase (so if your PMS is pretty intense!) you might find yourself feeling a lot better once your period arrives and your oestrogen levels start to rise.
Self-Care During Menstruation
In an ideal world, we would all be able to enjoy this phase of our cycle, but the truth is that for many people their period can be tough. Here’s some advice on how to make the best of your bleed and how Myoovi can help.
Rest is pretty key when it comes to your Menstruation phase - but that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home wrapped in a blanket the whole time.
Moving your body is a great way to relieve period pain and tackle fatigue - so try to engage in some low-impact exercises like walking or yoga. They will not only help to release mood-boosting endorphins but they could also help to relieve muscle tension and cramping. You can learn more about the best exercises for your cycle here.
Whilst your energy levels might be low, your body is very busy making your period happen - so when it comes to nutrition, support your energy stores with lots of lean protein and healthy fats!
As you’re bleeding, you might also be losing iron, so try to replenish it with iron-rich foods like red meat, lentils and beans and dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale. It’s also important to ensure your Vitamin C levels are topped up - as Vit C can help with the absorbance of iron - so go to town on that fresh orange juice. There are also foods that can help reduce the risk of period pain and some that can trigger it! You can learn more about nutrition and period pain here.
When thinking about your cycle as seasons, menstruation is usually described as ‘Winter’ - a time for rest and hibernation (sounds good to us).
There’s a reason that Menstruation is known as Winter - and that’s because it’s the perfect time to hibernate. You may feel a little withdrawn or sensitive during this time, and that’s OK! Feel no shame in cancelling those plans and enjoying some alone time. Make self-care a priority and try to keep things slow and simple, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
How Myoovi can help you
We don’t want to brag, but the Menstruation phase is kind of where we shine.
If you struggle with pain during your period, our Myoovi kit can help. 92% of our customers say that it has significantly reduced their period pain!
The best thing about our drug-free solution is that it’s totally natural - which means there will be no rogue chemicals or hormones running through your body, messing up the rest of your cycle.