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Stages of Female Menstrual Cycle ❤️

Female Menstrual Cycle


A topic that simply isn't spoken about enough, share this with your daughter, your friend, your Mum, your partner whoever you feel may benefit from some understanding.


To understand the menstrual cycle it is first important to understand the key endocrine players. The major endocrine glands that are involved in producing the hormones that relate to the menstrual cycle are;


Hypothalamus - Brain

Pituitary - Brain

Ovaries - Lower Abdomen


Each gland releases hormones that has an effect on the next gland in the chain.

Hypothalamus produces GnRh which is recognised by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland recognises this and produces luteinising hormone LH and follicle stimulating hormone FSH which signal the ovaries. The ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone which is then recognised by the hypothalamus creating a feedback loop.





Depending on the literature you may see the menstrual cycle divided

Into 2 or 4 phases.




Healthy Menstrual Cycle 28-35 days from day of your last menstruation.


Follicular Phase

Starts with the onset of menstruation (Day 1) and ends the day before the LH release (Ovulation). It is named from the growth in the follicles, small cells within the ovaries can be considered ‘pre eggs’.

Low hormone phase, both oestrogen and progesterone are low. Interestingly when men are most physiologically ‘like men’ and therefore why some women may perform well in strength training.

Bloating and cravings from menstruation tend to have gone by day 2 of the follicular phase (note still during menstruation).



Average blood loss 30-40mls, heavy period around 80mls, adequate iron and vitamin c rich foods to help with blood loss.

Throughout follicular phase oestrogen is high, towards ovulation oestrogen starts to rise and peak, oestrogen has a positive effect on mood, energy, libido, and recovery. The higher oestrogen can help with recovery from greater training stimuli. Oestrogen triggers the pituitary gland to release LH leading to ovulation.


Ovulation

Lasts 12-24 hours, an egg can survive for up to 48 hours before it can no longer be fertilised. This is the fertility window. Some women may notice spotting, cramps, mood change, appetite changes and some abdominal pain. This can be the beginning of premenstrual syndrome for some (PMS)

PMS may start 1-2 weeks after the first day of bleeding and may include mood swings, teariness, pain, breast tenderness, tiredness, anxiety, depression, increase in temperature The literature holds 150 symptoms!!!! You may even notice some discharge.


Luteal Phase

After this the follicle releases the egg and it changes into a corpus luteum. This releases greater amounts of progesterone, some (but not much oestrogen). The rise in hormones keeps your uterine lining thick and ready for a fertilised egg to implant. If you do get pregnant, your body will produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is the hormone pregnancy tests detect. It helps maintain the corpus luteum and keeps the uterus lining thick.

If you don’t get pregnant, the corpus luteum will shrink away and be resorbed. This leads to decreased levels of oestrogen and progesterone, which causes the onset of your period. The uterus lining will shed during your period.

This is when many experience their PMS Symptoms because of the changes in hormones. Progesterone is associated with Bloating, Increase in Appetite, low mood, anxiety, depression, rise in basal metabolic temperature, insomnia.



Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different. Some women get their period at the same time each month. Others are more irregular. Some women bleed more heavily or for a longer number of days than others.

Your menstrual cycle can also change during certain times of your life. For example, it can get more irregular as you get close to menopause.

I recommend everyone to track their cycle to ensure it is healthy and to give more indication on mood and PMS symptoms to help with better understanding your body.


Tips to manage PMS Symptoms:


Nutrient dense foods - Lots of colour

Foods high in iron - Red meat, beans, nuts, high quality dark chocolate (70-85%) Movement

Hydration

Acknowledgement & understanding of your cycle -> Compassion & self awareness. Talk about it


Hypothalamic Amenorrhea / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (Metabolic Hormone Issues)


Very Real! Approx 30% of women in reproductive age suffer.

Absence of menstrual cycle


Causes


Poor Diet

Low Energy Availability

Excessive Exercise

Chronic Stress


Effects on health


Unable to build muscle mass

Risk of bone mineral loss

Poor hair growth

Brittle nails

Infertility issues later in life

Poor dental health




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