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Periods, Brainwaves + Astrology

{ This section is written by }

KATRINA SCHILLING \ naturopath /  BUNMARK HEALTH

AN INFRADIAN RHYTHM

a biological rhythm longer than the 24 hour  circadian rhythm that determines the sleep-wake-eat cycle.

The menstrual cycle is the outcome

of an incredible symphony of hormones,

conducted by the brain

and recited by a range of marvellous and adaptable sex hormones

made by the ovaries, uterus, and adrenal glands.

Your hormones

are messengers

moving in a pattern

Hormones over a cycle

Estrogen

Progesterone

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Lutenising Hormone (LH)

Testosterone

OVULATION

The Breakdown

Luteinising Hormone (LH)

LH is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. LH triggers ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, as a result of peak ovarian oestrogen levels at approximately mid-cycle. 

 

Follicle Stimulating hormone (FSH)

FSH exists in both men and women. In people with a menstrual cycle 

FSH, which is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain, stimulates ovarian follicle growth during the follicular phase as well as oestradiol secretion from these follicles. One of these follicles will become the most mature and release an egg at ovulation. 

 

Testosterone                   

Testosterone is an androgen (steroid hormone) produced in relatively small amounts compared to other sex hormones of the menstrual cycle. It is made by the adrenal glands and can convert into oestrodiol. It peaks at ovulation, increases libido, and assertive behaviour.

 

 

Oestrogens

There are three main types of estrogens made by the body: 

  1. Oestriol relatively weak and associated with pregnancy

  2. Oestradiol

  3. Oestrone, relatively weak, produced by the ovaries, fat cells, and adrenal glands and is the major hormone post-menopause

 

Oestrodiol, one of the most potent and influential in the menstrual cycle, is a primary sex hormone that:

 

  • stimulates female sex characteristics including breast maturation

  • Stimulates growth of the uterine lining also known as the endometrium

  • promotes calcium absorption and strong bones

 

Oestrogen also stimulates the production of cervical mucous which at be seen at varying amounts across the cycle as levels rise and fall. 

 

Progesterone

Progesterone is dominant in the luteal phase and secreted by the corpus luteum, a small mass of cells as the cite where the egg was released. This hormone plays many roles for the menstruating woman. It is highly important in supporting healthy conception and pregnancy but is just as vital in maintaining the short and long-term health of non-pregnant women. 

 

Adequate natural progesterone levels only develop if ovulation has occurred. If fertilisation does not occur, the corpus luteum dissolves, progesterone levels fall which triggers the uterine lining to shed and the cycle begins again.

 

Pre-menstrual symptoms, trouble falling pregnant, and pregnancy loss may be associated with low progesterone. The key to making healthy levels of progesterone is ovulation.

HYPOTHALUMUS

PITUITARY GLAND

{ PRELIMINARY 0VUM [EGGS] ]

MATURE 0VUM 

EGG RELEASE

(OVULATION)

 

LUTEAL PHASE

Levels of Estrogen + Progesterone in the

CORPUS LUTEUM

suppress 

Lutenising Hormone (LH)

& Follicule Stimulating

Hormone

(FSH)

FOLLICULAR PHASE

Estrogen from 

growing follicles trigger LH release from Pituitary Gland

< OVARY

 

THIS IS A 

NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOP

CORPUS LUTEUM

(dissolves into bod)

Sidenote: 

 This information is based on a

text-book 28-day cycle with ovulation occurring at approximately day 14.

 

Timing such as this occurs for only a small percentage of people.

Longer or shorter cycles with differing days of ovulation is also normal.

MENSTRUAL PHASE  ‘the period’ 

 

Shedding of the uterine lining. Hormones in this phase are at their lowest. Bleeding should begin abruptly with minimal pre-menstrual symptoms, or pain (some discomfort is normal due to necessary uterine contraction) and last 3-5 days with a total maximum loss of 80 ml of vibrant, red blood.

Days 1-5  (approx)

Complete rest, gentle stretching or walking, restorative yoga or movement without inversions,

(no standing on your head) may be beneficial.

 

Gentle exercise such as walking, stretching or restorative yoga may reduce pelvic pain and cramping.

FOLLICULAR PHASE

 

Ovarian follicles begin to develop and secrete oestrodiol. FSH is rising and developing the follicles in the ovaries, one of which will mature into an egg and be released at ovulation. 

Days 5-13  (approx). 

Listen closely to your body. You may be starting to feel more energized during this time. Try swimming, sun salutations, or jumping on an low-level outdoor hiking trail.

OVULATORY PHASE,

an egg is released

 

During this phase the rising levels of estrogen stimulate a surge in LH and the trigger of ovulation — the release of an egg / reproductive cell /oocyte from the most mature

ovarian follicle. 

Testosterone, oestradiol,

and progesterone also peak for a short time.

 

Ovulation is a sign of a healthy cycle and sets the stage for less PMS and positive periods.

 

It occurs approximately midway through the menstrual cycle however timing varies from person to person and sometimes from cycle to cycle for the same individual.

 

Days 14-15  (approx). 

This may be a good time for weight-bearing and higher intensity exercise to develop muscle and bone strength. Running, boxing, or weights can support bone strength, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular fitness. 

LUTEAL PHASE

 

Sometimes known as the

progesterone-dominant phase,

or what many know as PMS territory.

While pre-menstrual symptoms

(or premenstrual syndrome aka PMS)

are common, it is not necessarily 'normal' to experience excessive irritability, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, pain, acne, digestive upset or bowel irritation, insomnia or other unwanted symptoms during this phase.

(see below for more)

Oestradiol and progesterone are rising steadily until just before the period. Premenstrual symptoms may occur if hormones are imbalanced.

Days 16-28 (approx).

This time can be good for high-intensity exercise, sweating it out, blowing off steam, balanced with stretching and recovery days such as yoga, stretching and hot baths or a 30 minute sauna and total rest when you need to as fatigue can set in during this phase.

Cool facts about

CORPUS LUTEUM

CORPUS LUTEUM

EGG RELEASED

MATURE EGG

PRELIM EGG

OVARY

  • Corpus lutem is latin for ‘yellow body’
     

  • It is a temporary hormone structure 
     

  • It disintegrates if fertilisation of the egg does not occur, this is called the corpus albicans
     

  • It secretes estrodiol, progesterone, inhibin (stops occurrence of multiple egg-releases per cycle), and relaxin (aids labour and birth)
     

  • A new corpus luteum develops every cycle
     

  • If pregnancy occurs the placenta takes over hormone production from the corpus luteum

Unsure if your hormones are imbalanced?

It's more common than

you might think!

You might like to consider hormonal balancing if your cycle is:

  • Is less than 21 days, more than 36 days, or absent
     

  • Is associated with symptoms such as heavy or long bleeds (more than 80ml of blood or longer than 7 days of bleeding), mid-cycle bleeding, excessive pain, mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia, acne, male pattern hair loss or growth growth (hirsutism), digestive upset such as diarrhoea, constipation, or bloating.
     

  • Consists of a bleed with very light, watery or pink blood loss, brown or very dark blood, large blood clots
     

  • Includes vaginal discharge that is odorous, coloured, or excessive.

Try some of the strategies

in this library,

do some research,

or make an appointment

with a practitioner you trust.