Women are biologically different from men in so many ways — one of the most obvious being that we have a 28-day menstrual cycle with hormones that dictate our metabolism, mood, growth, sleep, reproduction, energy, and so much more!
However, shockingly, most research considers women small men — despite the fact that women were historically excluded from medical research due to hormonal fluctuations and possible unwanted complications.
This does NOT work in our favor. There is a large knowledge gap that has affected how the medical system treats women, as well as our overall health, and then makes recommendations based on:
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- And more
Things are slowly changing in the right direction — but learning how you can optimize your metabolism, energy, and mood based on different hormones and chemistry will empower you, and your physicians, to make the best decisions for your body.
THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN: MENSTRUATION
As women, we have varying hormonal composition every day of the month, which directly affects:
- Dietary requirements
However, this is actually a SUPERPOWER when we leverage it to our advantage.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY TO WORK WITH YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE — NOT AGAINST IT
While having a menstrual cycle and constant hormonal changes may feel like a hindrance or a burden, it’s actually an incredible thing that can be used to better care for ourselves. Many women have shared with me that they are a little ashamed of certain parts of their cycles — namely, the premenstrual or PMS phase.
I have always felt like I had to work extra hard and push through so much discomfort during PMS and menstruation to get the results I wanted.
When I finally fully understood how my cycle worked throughout the month, I learned that going on walks, doing yoga, and saving the hard workouts for certain times of the month — rather than following recommendations made for 20-year-old men — was the way to go.
Begin to listen to your body and work with the different phases of your cycle so that no matter what time of the month it is, you can save your sanity and thrive in:
- Your career
- Your relationship with your partner
- Your family life
THE FIRST STEP TO WORKING WITH YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE: UNDERSTANDING HOW IT WORKS
Let’s dive into owning our menstrual cycles so that we can optimize our bodies based on the changes that occur throughout our four phases!
HOW YOUR PERIOD WORKS
There are four phases in your menstrual cycle (1):
#1 – Menstruation
The onset of bleeding marks day 1 of your cycle, and we generally count from there. This is when you shed your uterine lining, called an endometrium. Bleeding typically lasts around 3-5 days, but it can depend on your individual cycle.
#2 – The follicular phase
This usually starts around menstruation and goes from around days 1-13. Estrogen levels rise, and your uterine lining grows and becomes thicker.
#3 – Ovulation
Ovulation typically happens midway through your cycle or around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. This is when an egg is released.
#4 – The luteal phase
This is typically around days 15-28 when the egg moves from the ovary through the fallopian tubes and progesterone rises. If an egg is fertilized, it attaches to the uterine wall, and pregnancy starts. If the egg is not fertilized/does not attach, progesterone and estrogen levels drop, and menstruation begins, starting the cycle again.
It is normal for cycles to vary in length from 25-30 days. Each phase can feel wildly different — because they are! Each phase impacts our body and our ability to maximize metabolic function, mood, energy, and brain function.
Luckily, you don’t have to suffer from these changes and the sometimes poor advice that comes from a misunderstanding of how these constant hormone changes make our bodies so different from men.
STEPS TO WORK WITH YOUR BODY AND NAVIGATE POOR HEALTH ADVICE
If you find yourself hitting a wall with your practitioner regarding a hormonal issue or imbalance, I recommend a couple of tips for bridging the knowledge gap to work with your body and honor its changes:
#1 – TRACK YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
I highly recommend tracking your period with an app — that way, you know where you are in your cycle, and you are never surprised by your period again. (I really like Flo, Kindra, and Clue.)
Even if you are in your 40s and/or during perimenopause, as long as you are cycling, it’s essential to know what’s going on with your 5th vital sign — your body and hormones are constantly changing.
There’s so much power in knowing each phase of your cycle and what you can expect physically and emotionally from each week.
#2 – ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH
Always advocate for yourself. I know it can be hard to do, but most times, we need to have someone with us to back up what we say. You could take a friend or relative with you to your next appointment.
This can help in two ways:
1. They are another set of eyes and ears and will be there if something inappropriate is said OR missed.
2. If they have seen your signs and symptoms, they can emphasize them to the doctor.
#3 – KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR SYMPTOMS
Keeping a record of symptoms can also be helpful, as can photographs or a video if the symptoms are visible (such as a skin rash, for example). Take this with you to your appointment.
You can show a doctor exactly what you experienced and when.
Plus, if you’re also tracking your period, this can help distinguish if specific symptoms are better or worse during certain phases of your menstrual cycle.
#4 – TAKE NOTES
Take notes at your appointment. It’s true that some doctors don’t like this, but as far as I am aware, there is no rule that you cannot take notes of what is said during your appointment.
This will help you accurately remember what was said so you yourself don’t forget, and you can relay that information to others if necessary. Whether it’s for a specialized issue or a second opinion, this is also good to show other doctors an accurate document of what was said.
#5 – GET A SECOND OPINION
Get a second opinion, ideally from a functional practitioner trained to look at the root cause of symptoms by evaluating your endocrine system.
As I have shared on this blog, in my podcast, and in my books, your hormones are rarely the problem. It’s usually something deeper going on. Treating just your hormones isn’t going to get the job done — you need to heal from the inside out and get to the root cause.
You deserve to feel your best and be validated by a doctor who will take the time to listen and help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
TIPS TO HELP YOU LEAN INTO HORMONAL CHANGES AND FEEL BALANCED DURING YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
In the meantime, here are some simple tips to help lean into your hormonal changes and feel balanced throughout your entire menstrual cycle.
#1 – Use Essential Oils
Different essential oils can be tremendous for aiding symptoms of hormonal changes throughout your cycle:
- Menstruation: Apply Clary Sage topically to your abdomen, hips, and bottoms of your feet to help relieve uterine cramping.
- Follicular Phase (Days 1-13): Apply a drop of Basil or two to your temples and the back of your neck to ease tension. You can also combine it with Peppermint or Coconut Oil for great relaxing massage oil.
- Ovulation (Around Day 14): A sensual blend of Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang, Cinnamon, and Jasmine or Neroli essential oils in a carrier oil will help you lean into your body’s hormones during this time, as well as help balance your nervous system and help you relax.
- Luteal Phase (Days 15-28): With dropping estrogen and progesterone levels during this phase, you may feel lower energy, libido, and intense cravings for carbs. A bedtime diffuser blend with Clary Sage, Cedarwood, and Bergamot essential oils will help you get a restful night’s sleep and restore balance.
#2 – EAT AND WORK OUT ACCORDING TO YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
During different phases of your menstrual cycle, your body may need different things.
During your period, you may need to switch to lighter exercising — like yoga and walks — while you may feel more energized during ovulation.
Ensure you eat according to what your body needs, and give yourself time to recover.
#3 – STAY IN BALANCE WITH SUPPLEMENTS
Regardless if you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you may be missing out on key nutrients. Especially if you’re suffering from symptoms of PMS and hormone imbalances, your body may be using up crucial nutrients faster than you realize.
Boosting your diet with supplements is the key to restoring balance.
My Hormone Balance is curated with the ideal blend of bioavailable vitamins, nutrients, and adaptogenic herbs to help you feel your best self.
Complete with vitamins B-6, B-12, magnesium, green tea extract, broccoli seed extract, and more, it’s the total supplement to support you throughout all your hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle.
GET COMPLETE SUPPORT FOR YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE WITH THE ESSENTIAL OILS HORMONE SOLUTION
No woman deserves to suffer from bad advice related to misunderstandings over her menstrual cycle.
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