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The First Phase of the Menstrual Cycle: The Menstrual Phase

The Menstrual Phase of The Menstrual Cycle
Photo by Erol Ahmed

I didn’t learn much about my menstrual cycle when I was in school. Anyone else in a similar position?

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What I did learn about my cycle, I cobbled together from books, magazines (shout out to Sassy magazine!), chats with my girlfriends and eventually, some pretty serious googling when I was trying to get pregnant. 

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I often think about how great it would have been to learn about all of this much earlier. To learn that there are four phases to the menstrual cycle. Or that the menstrual cycle isn’t just about getting a period.  Or that ovulation is a hugely important part of it. Or that what you do in the 60 -90 days before your current menstrual cycle will have an effect on it. 

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Over the next few posts, I want to breakdown each of the four phases for you. 

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Are you with me? 

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Let’s start with the menstrual phase, which starts on day one of your period.

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During this phase, if you haven’t fertilised an egg in the previous cycle, your body takes this time to shed the lining of the uterus.  This is the menstrual bleed and typically can last between 4 – 7 days. 

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What’s happening with your hormones during this phase, because let’s face it: there’s always something happening in this area! 

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Estrogen (the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle) and progesterone (the hormone that is released after ovulation) are at their lowest points, so you might feel a bit low with not a lot of energy. 

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You might feel discomfort, pain, a lack of energy, a bit moody or that your emotional responses are a bit more heightened., i.e. you might get teary at a random TV advert. 

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Socially, you might find that you withdraw a little bit from activities or you want to stay at home, especially on day 1 & 2 of your period.  

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All of this is completely normal and part of the ebb and flow of our menstrual cycle.  

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What’s not normal is having lows that are too low, excessive bleeding or pain that is too much.If you feel like this, I would encourage you to explore what’s going on and work with a professional (like me!)to get to the bottom of it. 

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Interestingly, research shows that evaluation and analytical skills are at their strongest during this part of the menstrual cycle, so it’s a great time to take a step back, take stock and reflect on where you are in your life / career / etc. This would be a great time to schedule a call with a mentor or coach if you feel emotionally up to it. 

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It’s so fascinating to see that once you understand what’s going on during your period, you can start to listen to your body and connect more, rather than fighting it. 

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So many of us have negative feelings about our periods and I would love to encourage you to let go of that and find ways to be positive. If positivity is a step too far, then at least try a little bit less negativity. 

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Food, breathwork and movement  (I had to talk about this –  I’m a nutritionist & yoga teacher!) are incredible ways to support your body during this phase of your menstrual cycle.

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Listening to your body, remembering to breathe acknowledging the type of movement & food you crave and nourishing it with nutrient packed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, complex carbohydrates and good fats will have only positive effects. 

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What do you think? Is there anything you want to learn more about this phase of your menstrual cycle?

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Look out for my post about the next phase of the menstrual cycle!

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Are your hormones up and down? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone health? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause. 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!

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