Cycle syncing is the ever growing idea that we should plan our lives in alignment with the different phases of our menstrual cycle. But is this lifestyle strategy actually benefiting women? For a quick refresher, there are 4 phases of the menstrual cycle:

 

Menstruation: this is when you have your period. Howyou feel during this period is highly individual, some folks feel great and some feel like total garbage.

 

Follicular phase: This is the period after menstruation but before ovulation. Your estrogen level is slowly rising, most people typically feel quite good for the 7-10 days of this phase.

 

Ovulation: The ovulatory period only lasts 1-2 days, this is when (if you are not on birth control) an egg breaks through the wall of the ovary and is taken up by the fallopian tube. Progesterone begins to rise and estrogen is still high at this point.

 

Luteal Phase: typically the 10-14 days before your next period begins. The closer to the end, you might start to notice increased fatigue, PMS symptoms, etc.

 

While these 4 phases happen for all menstruating women not on birth control, the effects on each individual vary widely. Some people don’t notice a difference between phases and their period arises without any disruption in their lives. Others will notice dramatic fluctuations in energy levels, sleep, digestion and mood from one phase to the next.

 

It’s because of these large individual variations that recommending changing your schedule, social calendar, workouts and obligations based on your cycle is bad advice. What’s true for your best friend or sister might not be true for you.

 

Instead we should focus on building the skill of recognizing our own bio-feedback. How our own body feels each day or week based on our own unique circumstances. Deciding that every woman should be more social during her ovulatory phase and a couch potato during her period is akin to saying we are just mindless-meat suits subject to the whim of our hormones. It plays into the stereotype that women are “hormonal”, or victims of the whims of our biology. 

 

Yes, we should be encouraging women to learn more about their biology and bodies. But we should not feel subjugated by them. We can listen to our own unique feedback and decide what to do with that information. And as grown adults, sometimes life demands that we get up and get going, regardless of how we feel.

 

 

 

 

Have more questions on this subject?

Dr. Emily Rea is here to answer your fertility questions and walk with you on your fertility journey. Send us a message any time!