The menstrual cycle affects us more than we think

The menstrual cycle affects us more than we think
Historically, most of the research on our health has been done on men. As a result, women's relationship to their biology, their health (and the caretaking of it) is based on the male body. However, male and female biology are different, particularly when it comes to our cycles and hormones. While men's hormones go through one cycle per day, women's hormones change over a whole month. The female cycle has several phases, and each phase contains important information about you and your health. 


Changing hormone levels affect how you feel 

Menstruation. Awkward, embarrassing, misunderstood and something we talk about far too little. But the fact is, your period is a sign of health. Your menstrual cycle reveals lots of information about how you and your body is feeling, not just during bleeding but throughout the cycle. And depending on which phase you're in, different things happen in your body. 
Do you find that your mood and emotions vary during your menstrual cycle? Does your hunger and cravings vary? Do your needs, motivation and energy levels change? Your menstrual cycle is affected by hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Depending on where you are in your cycle, you have different levels of these hormones and this in turn affects how you feel. 


Your menstrual cycle is important for your health 

As your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels rise or fall during the month, you may feel different 'symptoms'. Your energy, motivation and hunger may change. Your self-confidence, how much or little you want to see others and how much you are able to exercise can also vary. As hormone levels alter, we also need to give our bodies different things: different amounts of recovery, different types of exercise, different nutrients and more. 
Your menstrual cycle gives you important information about your health. By keeping track of which phase you are in and understanding how the different hormones affect you, you can optimise your well-being and take care of yourself properly. 


Female hormones also have a positive effect on the brain 

Research shows that the menstrual cycle also affects your brain. A study conducted at the Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore (2002) looked at how changing estrogen levels affected women's behaviour and abilities over the course of the cycle. 
Among other things, the study found that on days when women had high levels of oestrogen, they were better at remembering details, relating to other people's situations and recognising danger. Their spatial abilities increased, and the hippocampus in the brain was also seen to grow. In other words, the menstrual cycle is not a necessary evil. It's awesome and very important for your health and it's something we should cherish. 

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