6 “Weird” things you may not have known could be cycle relatedMar 15, 2021
Hey girl hey,
Let’s talk about a few things that happen to you that you may not have known are cycle related!
Hot flashes at night, especially in the luteal phase. Low estrogen is usually the culprit of this. When your hypothalamus receives the message of low estrogen it will initiate FSH and LH be released and they cause blood vessels to dilate and increase blood circulation which can cause feelings of extreme warmth.
Balance issues or increased risk of injury in the luteal and menstrual phase. You are at a higher risk of injury during your luteal phase likely due to decreases in your hormones (estrogen and testosterone) allowing you to tire faster with physical activity. Also, you are not able to gain lean muscle mass as easily which leads to risk of injury if we keep pushing it hard in the gym trying to make gainz. Your brain houses balance centers as well and is also changing during each phase of your cycle.
BEING EXTRA HUNGRY
An increase in your metabolic rate happens as you gear up for your period. You naturally burn more calories during this time so your body is asking for more fuel. During the second half of your cycle (luteal and menstrual phase) your metabolism naturally speeds up to prepare for either pregnancy or shedding your endometrial lining. Oftentimes we notice this and think we should be able to willpower our way through that increased demand in calories showing up as hunger and cravings. This isn’t a will power issue, this is a physiological issue. Instead of trying to grab that quick source of energy through candies or chips, grab something that will sustain your energy longer to help support your blood sugar and help curb your cravings like a sweet potato.
YOU CAN GET SICK EASIER
You get a lower immune response around your period which means you have a higher chance of getting sick. In the first ½ of your cycle (follicular and ovulatory phase) estrogen levels are higher and your immune system is ready to attack. When we transition to the second half our cycle (luteal and menstrual phase) our estrogen declines and so does our immune response. One theory is that this aids in our ability to get pregnant and not have our body fight off the sperm and or reject the fertilized egg which means it can be easier for you to catch something during this time. As always, support your immune system by managing your stress, getting plenty of rest, eating good quality foods, and one of my favorites is considered a high quality vitamin D supplement. By syncing with your cycle you’ll already be giving your body less stress to handle during each phase.
THE PILL DOESN’T REGULATE YOUR PERIOD
The pill doesn’t actually regulate your period. Nope, hormonal birth control turns off communication between your brain (hypothalamus) and your ovaries and it introduces synthetic hormones into your body vs using your own. Hormonal birth control works by suppressing ovulation (meaning you won’t ovulate - which is super important to our health as women) to prevent pregnancy. Also, the “period” you may experience while on hormonal birth control isn’t actually a period, it’s a withdrawal bleed. The week you get your “period” on the pill is because you are taking sugar pills and not actually pills with synthetic hormones, so just like when our natural hormones decrease and we shed our endometrial lining the decrease in hormones will induce this as well when taking the pill. But it is still not the same type of period with the same benefits.
STRESS ISN’T GOOD FOR YOUR HORMONES
Stress wreaks havoc on your period and can cause spotting, missed periods, irregular periods, infertility, low sex drive, PMS, and more. Most times we are under chronic stress anymore with our modern lifestyles. Your body only knows stress, it doesn’t know how to tell the difference between immediate danger like being chased by a tiger vs chronic stress. Chronic stress will keep those stress centers constantly firing and operating, leading to extra depletion and hormonal imbalance. An increase in cortisol production during stressful times will interfere with progesterone production meaning it can lead to lower levels of progesterone in comparison to estrogen. With an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone we will see hormonal imbalance issues come up. Also, bloating or gastrointestinal issues after a workout are a sign that your body is under too much stress. I know we workout to handle stress but we want it to not have the opposite effect on our body. If this is the case for you consider decreasing your workout lengths and intensity, and really focus on picking workouts that are phase appropriate. If you are unsure what that looks like check out the PerFlomance membership.
With love, intention, and happy periods,
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