It was only recently (about a year ago) that I began to understand that my cycle was more than just my period every month – or every “I’ve no idea when” for my fellow PCOS sufferers.
I’d learnt all about the female reproductive cycle at school and then again whilst training as an acupuncturist but I had no idea how that looked in the real world. Especially as I was on the contraceptive pill for most of my 20’s.
When I began to listen to what my body was telling me throughout my cycle, I was astounded. I had no clue how much my mood, energy, cravings and motivation varied so reliably throughout the month. Even with my irregular PCOS cycles, I could begin to see that I wasn’t crazy/depressed/flakey, I was actually just going through a cycle.
Finding my rhythm has changed my life.
Working out your own natural rhythm will change your life too. It can help you figure out the best time to have sex to conceive, help you work out what your hormones are up to so you can see if there are any problems and bring a sense of calm instead of chaos to each month of trying to get pregnant.
So where do you start?
The best place to start is where you are.
This week we are going to talk about menstruation so if this isn’t where you are, come back to this blog post then. The rest of the parts of the cycle are coming soon.
Menstruation starts on the first day of your full bleed. If you have spotting, wait until the first day you see full bleeding, even if it’s late at night. This is day 1 of your cycle.
Whats going on with your hormones?
At this point in your cycle, all the main hormones that control your menstrual cycle (oestrogen, progesterone, lutenising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) are low. This means that you are naturally going to be feeling slower and more inward at this part of your cycle and this is particularly apparent when you are desperately hoping that your period won’t come.
How should it be?
Everyone’s period is different but it should not be your monthly curse. You should not be in awful pain and the bleeding should not be so heavy that you cannot leave the house. If you are suffering then your body is telling you that something is wrong. Please don’t suffer in silence.
You may experience some slight abdominal discomfort. The blood should be bright red with no clot and last 2-4 days.
Making positive changes
If your period doesn’t feel as good as you’d like, here are some suggestions to try.
- Avoid standard sanitary products and use natural products. Depending on what appeals to you, you can try organic tampons or pads, a reusable cup or reusable pads. I’ve been using reusable pads for several months now and they’ve had a really positive impact on my cycle and they definitely aren’t as weird to use as I thought they’d be.
- Take things nice and slow. Now is the time in your cycle to conserve your energy, stay at home and nourish yourself in every way you know how. Sleep as much as you can, do minimal exercise (10 minutes of gentle yoga is enough) and stick to warming and nourishing foods such as soups.
- This time is a great time to evaluate whats working for you right now and whats not. Dream about how you what your life to look and plan for the future.
Not sure when your last period was? It can be tricky to use these tips when you have irregular cycles due to PCOS. Check out my post here for some ideas of what you can do to begin to regal your cycle.
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