Tracking your menstrual phases for better health

Did you know that every woman has four phases during her menstrual cycle? Tracking these phases are not only important for monitoring your reproductive health but can also help maximize your productivity, fertility and energy.

Thanks to the rise in popular tracking apps such as Flo and Clue, women now have several options for easy and effective cycle tracking.

Cycle syncing is especially helpful for women who are trying to conceive, manage PMS symptoms or hormonal conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Research shows that the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone during a woman’s cycle can impact her mood and energy. By syncing your cycle you will also be able to adjust your diet, exercise routine and schedule to work for you and your body. When you become aware of your cycle it can also help you identify any issues that impact your reproductive health.

Below are the four cycles of the menstrual phases:

Menstrual phase (Days 1 -7)

Your menstrual phase begins the day you begin bleeding. When you release an egg, your progesterone and estrogen levels begin to drop which causes the uterus to shed its lining abd this results in your period. Your menstrual cycle is a good opportunity to slow down and take more time for self care.

During this time it’s important to note any changes in your body including cramps, headaches, mood changes and any other effects of PMS. This is a good time to nourish your body with dark leafy greens, soups and iron-rich foods such as beets or grass-fed meat. When it comes to exercise, your body will likely have decreased energy. Try slow yoga, walking or other low-intensity workouts.

Follicular Phase (Days 7 – 14)

After your menstrual cycle is complete, your body will begin to release hormones to stimulate the growth of new follicles that produce estrogen and begin to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg. During this time you may feel an increase in energy levels and mental alertness. This is a good time to begin new projects or start new activities. This is a good time to eat clean and pick foods high in protein and Vitamin to support growing follicles. You can also begin to add intensity or intervals during strength training or cardio workouts.

Ovulatory phase (days 14 -21)

The ovulatory phase is when a woman is most fertile and has the highest chance of becoming pregnant if the egg is fertilized with sperm. During this time a surge in luteinizing hormones causes a mature egg to release and travel down the fallopian. If you are trying to conceive, the best time to do so is the day the egg is released or the five days leading up to it. For women trying to avoid pregnancy, this is an important time to use contraception and be extra careful. Another sign that you are ovulating may be a change in vaginal discharge, which is often clear and sticky during this time. During ovulation women may feel more mentally alert and have higher bursts of energy. This is a good time to tackle new challenges and load up on fiber-rich vegetables and magnesium-rich foods such as spinach or dark chocolate. High intensity workouts and long cardio intervals are also beneficial during this time.

Luteal Phase (Day 22 – 28)

During this phase your body is at high levels of progesterone and estrogen to help a fertilized egg implant in the uterine lining. If the egg isn’t fertilized the uterus sheds its lining and you will get your period. As energy levels drop, you may feel the need to pull back or spend more time at home. This is a good time to start eating healthy fats and nutrient-rich foods while limiting sugar and alcohol to ease the symptoms of PMS. You may want to back off high-intensity workouts but continuing to exercise will help boost dopamine and reduce inflammation in the body that could make PMS symptoms worse.

If you’d like to learn more about birth control options or managing PMS symptoms during your cycle, contact the skilled gynecologists at Adriatica Women’s Health. We are a team of highly capable OB/GYNs dedicated to using the most advanced techniques to treat women’s health issues. Call 972-542-8884 for an appointment.