Street Art by Car­leen De Sözer

What actu­ally is all part of the men­strual cycle? 

Men­stru­ation is dis­missed by many as an incon­veni­ence, although it could be read as a monthly health check. Would you like to learn more about the four phases of your men­strual cycle and how they can affect your mood?
Let’s start off easy with a little revi­sion les­son. We know men­stru­ation. Check. We also know ovu­la­tion, at least as a time when preg­nancy is pos­sible. But then it prob­ably stops already, doesn’t it? One of the most com­mon mis­con­cep­tions about our period is that our cycle only takes place when we bleed. The men­strual cycle, which lasts an aver­age of 28 days, in fact includes vari­ous phases that go bey­ond the actual period and bring about hor­monal changes. The nat­ural cycle is often com­pared with the four sea­sons: winter, spring, sum­mer and autumn.

And how are you feel­ing dur­ing the dif­fer­ent phases of the cycle?

The men­strual cycle has a dir­ect influ­ence on how we feel. The sub­di­vi­sion into dif­fer­ent phases makes the changes for energy and mood more com­pre­hens­ible. Nev­er­the­less, each men­stru­at­ing per­son exper­i­ences their own cycle indi­vidu­ally. Do you some­times feel really tired and lazy? And on other days you feel as if the world belongs to you and you can do any­thing? Wel­come to the club of men­stru­at­ors!
Are you someone who loves their cycle or are you more like: ‘Who needs men­stru­ation?’ No mat­ter how you feel about peri­ods, a little more know­ledge is always good. A deeper under­stand­ing of your indi­vidual cycle can help you to bet­ter under­stand your own well-being and feel­ings. Because the four phases of the cycle repeat them­selves month by month and thus with them prob­ably also your mood changes. If pos­sible, it can even make sense to plan your activ­it­ies accord­ing to the dif­fer­ent cycle phases. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Phase 1: Men­stru­ation (winter) 

The first day of your monthly bleed­ing is the begin­ning of your men­stru­ation and a new cycle. The first phase is actu­ally called ‘men­stru­ation’. If we had to describe the men­strual phase, there would prob­ably be terms like low energy, rest or being at home. It’s like winter, a rather quiet, slow time to reflect. Men­stru­ation is ideal for relax­ing, plan­ning and mak­ing decisions. How­ever, if you suf­fer from men­strual pain, you may want to post­pone plan­ning to the luteal phase (phase 4) and rest well now. Men­stru­ation usu­ally lasts between three and seven days.

Phase 2: Fol­licu­lar phase (spring) 

The fol­licu­lar phase brings with it more energy, focus and self-con­fid­ence due to a rising estro­gen level. Spring fever awakens. You are full of energy and feel free and at ease. This phase is per­fect for being pro­duct­ive and suc­cess­fully mas­ter­ing chal­lenges. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it gets even bet­ter: This ener­getic phase is the longest in your cycle! Because it over­laps with the last days of the first men­strual phase.

Phase 3: Ovu­la­tion (sum­mer)

When we ovu­late, more energy and cre­ativ­ity is released as hor­mone levels con­tinue to rise. This gives you the warm and sum­mery feel­ing that you can do any­thing. The time of ovu­la­tion is a power phase and the best time to invest in per­sonal rela­tion­ships and to be act­ive. Ovu­la­tion is usu­ally right in the middle of a reg­u­lar cycle. Some people can feel ovu­la­tion in the form of pain. The middle pain lasts only a few hours. This is also your fer­tile cycle phase and the chances of get­ting preg­nant are high!

Phase 4: Luteal phase (autumn)

In the last phase, the hor­mone pro­ges­ter­one dom­in­ates the cycle. You may feel a little more sens­it­ive dur­ing this time, want to pull back and are think­ing a lot. But be com­pas­sion­ate with your­self, because self-cri­ti­cism can be on the agenda as well now. Many people asso­ci­ate this phase with pre­men­strual syn­drome, also known as PMS. The symp­toms often start four to seven days before the start of your next men­stru­ation. The luteal phase and thus the cycle end on the last day before the onset of your next men­strual period. With men­stru­ation, the cycle starts all over again.

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Are you ready to finally under­stand your body & your mood swings bet­ter and learn cycle aware­ness? Then our online course "Cycle Aware­ness as a Super­power" is per­fect for you!

Zyklusbewusstein, Zyklusachtsamkeit, Online-Kurs, Onlinekurs, im Einklang leben, Stephanie Schäper, Koasdesign Studio, Stimmungsschwankungen verstehen, Kraft des Zyklus, Zykluswissen, Menstruationszyklus, Selbstfürsorge Menstruation, Innere Jahreszeiten, Zyklusphasen, Vulvani, Vulvani Academy

How about cycle tracking? 

Your mood changes prob­ably repeat them­selves month by month, without you hav­ing noticed any reg­u­lar­ity so far? Then it’s time for you to become more aware of your cycle and write down some key inform­a­tion, such as day of your cycle, mood and energy level. You can do this the old-fash­ioned way on paper or use one of the many men­strual track­ing apps. You might won­der why you should fol­low your cycle con­ciously? Over time, you will prob­ably recog­nize a pat­tern in your cycles and know how you will feel in the dif­fer­ent phases. Then you can think about when your next lazy or pro­duct­ive phase awaits you. If you know your cycle, you can under­stand your own mood changes more eas­ily and under­stand your energy fluc­tu­ations bet­ter. Liv­ing in sync with your cycle and anti­cip­at­ing how you will feel in the next few weeks sounds pretty tempt­ing, doesn’t it?

Note: If you use hor­monal con­tra­cep­tion (e.g. the pill, spiral or NuvaR­ing), your cycle will be inten­tion­ally changed. Hor­mones sup­press your ovu­la­tion to pre­vent the pos­sib­il­ity of preg­nancy. Accord­ingly, your cycle phases will also feel dif­fer­ent and the descrip­tions in this text prob­ably do not apply to you. 

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Founder Vul­vani | | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vul­vani. She loves research­ing, writ­ing and design­ing new art­icles or innov­at­ive edu­ca­tional con­cepts about men­stru­ation all day long. When she is not trav­el­ling the world, she enjoys spend­ing time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.