Seasons of The Menstrual Cycle: Can We Live Better with Endometriosis?
For the majority of my life, I've found myself taken by surprise by period. My menstrual cycle had always been a bit of a mystery that I had no interest or care in uncovering or understanding. As far as I was concerned growing up, I was looking forward to the day it stopped and I tried to think about it as little as possible. That's why at 30, I am only just beginning to appreciate the power of the menstrual cycle and how its flow offers so much wisdom about my body and actually guides me towards living better. So, for the next few weeks over on Endometriosis News, I'm going to be breaking down the seasons of the menstrual cycle and how to utilise them to feel better with endometriosis. And today, I'm starting with the phase that most people with endometriosis battle with - menstruation.
Menstruation: Your Inner Winter
If you follow the kind of Instagram accounts I do (periods and feminism, anyone?) you might be used to seeing posts about our inner seasons. You may also be wondering what the hell that means.
I’ve mentioned previously that women are cyclic. Nature has its seasons, as do we — especially as women. A patriarchal society has led us to believe that our cycles are related only to our monthly bleed, and we can choose to forget about that part with pills, anyway (though of course, certain people need these, and we all have the right to choose the best way to handle our endo). Many of us force ourselves to carry on through our periods, trying our best to be “normal” and perform without being affected by our periods or hormones – as men would, essentially.
But what if instead of suppressing our female biology, we embrace it and work with it?
That’s what the inner seasons are about. Women’s hormone cycles can be broken down into four stages, known as:
- Menstrual phase
- Follicular phase
- Ovulation phase
- Luteal phase
These also are known as our inner Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.
How much do we really know about our cycle? For most of us, it stops at when we’re bleeding and maybe when we can get pregnant. But our cycle has a very real effect on our physical and emotional being. The cycle causes biological changes in us every week, if not every day, and these have an impact on our bodies, minds, and emotions.
Understanding this is a huge step toward making peace with our bodies. Instead of feeling like we’re up and down, we can learn to recognize our patterns and plan accordingly. Instead of comparing ourselves to the men in our office, we can understand how we’re different and harness the strengths of these differences. Instead of wondering what the hell our body wants from us, we can recognize what it needs and when.
Continued on Endometriosis News