Am I Actually Upset, or Is It Just PMS?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt that being a woman meant that we are governed by our hormones. If I was just a little stressed out or emotional, it meant that my period was due – yep, it was all down to hormones. Unconsciously I’ve conditioned my mind to never give merit to those feelings or why I was feeling that way because of just brushing it off as PMS.
But the truth is, hormones don’t actually influence how we feel or react to certain situations; it’s the other way around. According to Dr. Mehment Oz, “emotions control our hormones through biochemical changes in the brain. Fear, for instance, is accompanied by the production of one set of brain chemicals that can make us alert and ready to flee, while pleasure triggers the release of other chemicals that soothe and calm.”
And if we look at it in such a pragmatic way, it actually makes a lot of sense. How many times have you gotten your period a little earlier (or later) than scheduled because you’ve been stressed out about a big exam? It’s happened to me so many times, but only recently have I made the connection. And this got me thinking, if we all knew exactly what happens to our bodies at every phase of our cycles then we’d know what to expect, and we’d be able to take better care of ourselves.
And although every cycle is different, because all bodies are different, here’s an overview of what to expect throughout the duration of your menstruation cycle:
Your period starts. Your uterine wall feels as though it’s angry at you, and your fallopian tubes are punching your gut from the inside. At least that’s what it feels like. Hah. The real reason we feel intense cramping during the first few days of our period is because the uterus lining breaks down and sheds, and this is a painful experience.
Emotionally, you’ll feel fatigued – tired. Like you need that extra 3 hours of Netflix on the sofa. Give it to yourself.
Your period ends and your energy levels start to increase. This is because the oestrogen levels in your body increases. Your body starts to prepare for ovulation and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates your ovaries to produce a matured egg. This maturing process produces estrogen, which leads to the peak in energy.
Now’s the time to take on anything with all that extra energy. It’s also a good time to schedule in anything that you’ve been putting off for a while.
The matured egg is released into the fallopian tube and travels to the uterus: the moment your body has been building up to the entire cycle. The egg can survive for 12-24 hours and during this time you are at your most fertile.
You might feel overly inspired as your oestrogen levels peak.. you might also notice an increase in your sex drive. *wink wink*
Plot twist! A new hormone enters your body called progesterone, which is the super hormone that enables your uterus to rebuild its lining (how cool is that?!).
You might feel a little tired and fatigued as your body experiences a sudden hormone change. This is also the time when you’re most sensitive to stress, so best to avoid situations that might trigger you.
After phase 4, your cycle moves back to phase 1, where your period starts. Just when we thought it was all over, it starts again. Knowing the different phases our bodies go through during our cycles, especially understanding energy levels and hormone levels, can help us make the best of our day to day. No more feeling guilty about not being as productive in phase 4 as you are in phase 2; because now you’re in control. And when you’re in control, you’re confident.
Watch this cool video to see the different phases in action: