Chinese Medicine has long focused on the female reproductive cycle as measure of a woman’s good health. It’s important for all women to understand what is a good, normal cycle for them, and what may need attention.
The start of the menstrual cycle begins on day 1: the first full day of bleeding. It should begin without pain, or spotting in the lead-up, and flow should be dark red with very little clotting. It is normal to feel a bit tired for the first few days of your period. Clear the schedule as much as you can; stay warm and rest during this time. After a few days of full flow, your period will lighten, and your energy will start to pick up. Bleeding should end after about 4-5 days.
Day 4 or 5 the lining of your uterus starts to build up again in preparation for ovulation. You will generally feel quite good in this phase of your cycle – eating healthily, and exercising comes easily. Oestrogen is the dominant hormone. Hormonal changes in the lead-up to ovulation improve vaginal lubrication and sex drive. This is the time to take on the world – you have energy, clarity, and magnetism!
Ovulation, (approx. day 14) requires a good flow of hormones to undertake the cascade of hormonal changes required to release an egg. Bloating, pain, fatigue, and irritability are signs your body isn’t transitioning through it well.
Post-ovulation you might feel a bit slower. Progesterone is now the main hormone, and will be released from your ovary to protect an early pregnancy. If no pregnancy, progesterone production reduces after 11-14 days you will get your period. Progesterone levels are sensitive to stress, so it is important to exercise, reduce coffee, sugar and inflammatory foods to ensure a smooth pre-menstrual week, and calm start to your period.