Starting to wear outrageously high slits to show off your assets? You’re probably in week 2 of your menstrual cycle. Craving for chocolates? That’s a sign of being in week 3 – the ovulation phase. Cheerful in the day but weeping at night? Well. (I think we all know what that really is.)
How do we know that? Well ladies, it boils down to your hormone cycle.
The woman’s hormonal cycle regulates her menstrual cycle, and is a constant rhythm. We wouldn’t say it applies to all women on earth though – there exists hormonal/menstrual irregularities in women athletes and in pre-menopausal women, for example.
The four weeks of a woman’s menstrual cycle are distinct in terms of hormonal mix, which affects how she looks and feels for that week. In these four weeks, three types of hormones are being regulated – Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone.
Get it under control – quickly and easily
This is easy to remember:
Week 1: Reset mode – your mood gets better.
Week 2: Flirt mode – you feel more confident and attractive.
Week 3: “The calm before the storm” mode – you get easily worn out, and feel more calm
Week 4: Grouchy mode – PMS, as you know it.
Week 1 (after your period has started): Levels of all three hormones are at their lowest. Estrogen and testosterone levels begin to rise.
At the start, you may feel sapped of energy due to low iron levels caused by menstruation. But after those few days, your pain-relieving hormone endorphin and muscle building hormone testosterone start rising. You start being more in tune with the outside world and meeting new people becomes easier for you.
Week 2: Estrogen and Testosterone steadily climb to their highest levels.
This is your week where you feel like you’re a woman who has conquered the world. Your rising hormones cause your body to become more symmetrical and attractive to men as well, so coupled with your ultra confidence and cheeriness, you can indeed, go out and be the best you can be!
Week 3: You have ovulated! Estrogen and Testosterone plunge, Progesterone rises. Estrogen and Testosterone climbs up for a second time (not as high this time). PMS symptoms are coming out.
Suddenly feeling sluggish on a Monday? This might not be a simple case of Monday Blues, but rather a case of rising progesterone. Progesterone makes your brain work slower, even causing you to stumble over your words at times. You might also yearn to seek more solace during this time of the cycle.
Beware, one of the symptoms you may get is bloating. This is because your hormones are in imbalance at this time of the month, and some say it is the rise in progesterone which causes your digestion to slow down.
Research: “The rising levels of hormones also have a direct effect on the gastointenstinal tract. “This hormonal effect causes the GI tract not to empty as quickly and to produce gas,” explains Dr. Grace Janik, director of reproductive endocrinology at St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee.
Because stool and gas are moving more slowly through the intestines, women often have constipation and bloating in the two weeks before their periods. When women get their periods, their hormone levels drop and they sometimes get diarrhea.”
What you can do is to monitor your bloating symptoms, to see if it synchronizes with your menstrual cycle. If not, your bloat might be caused by other factors! Also, eat bloat-friendly foods, and exercise!
Week 4: Levels of all three hormones plunge. Full blown PMS symptoms (and you know that it’s coming).
You don’t feel your best when your estrogen is falling – You probably feel easily irritated. Your serotonin levels (happy hormone levels) are falling – so boost your mood with some food!