This week, let’s talk about the four phases of the menstrual cycle.
We have four phases: menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal. For some of us, using those terms to describe the phases can feel really clinical and nowhere near the emotional and physical feelings each can bring. Using the analogy of the outer seasons is another way to think about the four phases. I find it easier to connect with, because we already know what each outer season is supposed to bring and can connect this to our inner menstrual seasons, giving us a rough guide of what to expect.
The analogy of the seasons was originated by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer in their book Wild Power: Discover The Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power. They say that throughout your menstrual month, you move through an inner winter (menstruation), spring (follicular), summer (ovulation), autumn (luteal) and back again. Each phase brings a set of specific resources and psychological challenges that help you grow into yourself and your power.
If we think about how we might feel during our inner winter, there’s likely to be a sense of slowness and a call to hibernation or at least staying closer to home. We’re shedding the lining of our uterus, an energy intensive process that can see us turning inward.
After winter, comes spring, a time for growth and renewal. We feel this in our inner spring as estrogen and testosterone start rising and with it so does our energy, mood, libido and confidence.
Then we come to summer, where we’re at the peak of our powers, fizzing with energy and vitality.
Finally, we get to autumn, which we can split into two parts. We have early autumn when progesterone is still high and estrogen has reached its second smaller peak. There is a bright, calm feeling, similar to September and October. Then we have late autumn, where the leaves fall off the tree in earnest, the clocks go back, and the nights draw in, similar to November and December.
Do you connect with the analogy of the seasons as a way to understand your menstrual month? Let me know if the comments.
Le’Nise Brothers is a yoga teacher and registered nutritionist, mBANT, mCNHC, specialising in women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle. She is also the host of the Period Story Podcast, which aims to break taboos around menstrual health and hormones.
Le’Nise has helped hundreds of women improve their menstrual and hormone health through her private practice and group programmes, talks and workshops for the likes of Stylist, Channel 4, Ebay and TikTok and her Instagram page. 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 first book You Can Have A Better Period will be released in spring 2022.
Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! If you’re looking for support with your hormone and menstrual health, click this link to book a 30 minute health review to talk about working together.