Phase 1: The Menstrual Phase
Phase 2: The Pre-Ovulatory Phase
The cyclical nature of the menstrual cycle communicates our constantly changing needs. And the benefits of paying attention to these needs are SIGNIFICANT! In this series we will explore the different phases of the menstrual cycle and how to best honour them using nutrition, herbs, and lifestyle changes.
In previous articles and podcasts we have discussed Phase 1: The Menstrual Phase and Phase 2: The Pre-Ovulatory Phase.
In this article we will explore the third phase of the menstrual cycle - The Ovulatory Phase.
PHASE 3: THE OVULATORY PHASE
Ovulation, and the surges in LH and FSH that follow it, occur smack bang in the middle of these two phases. At the crossover point if you will.
This is when we are moving from an overall low-hormone phase to a high-hormone phase. We are transitioning from our physiology being "more like a male" to "more like a female".
This is another reason I break the cycle into five phases instead of two, because there are SO many more things happening at different points in the cycle than just two!
The Ovulatory Phase starts starts a day or so before ovulation. In a typical 28-day cycle, this approximately corresponds to day 12 until day 16 of the cycle. During this time oestrogen levels are high but progesterone remains low, differentiating this phase from the latter part of the cycle when both oestrogen and progesterone are relatively high. Ovulation is just one day of the whole menstrual cycle but its associated hormonal changes last for a total of around 3-4 days.
Around 14 days before menses, oestrogen stimulates the release of the egg, and this is the event of ovulation. The egg is released from one of your ovaries and travels to a fallopian tube for potential fertilisation. During this time you may notice the presence of fertile mucus (which has an egg-white consistency), a rise in your body temperature, or for some women pain from the ovulating ovary (known as Mittelschmerz), pain or stiffness in your hips.
On an energetic level, this phase is similar to an inner Summer, or the full moon phase of the lunar cycle. This is the phase when you're most likely to feel electric, libidinous, loving, and connected to others! Our society loooooves women in their ovulatory phase (for better or for worse).
Now that you've got the gist of the physiology, let's dive into some nutritional tips for nourishing your body during your Ovulatory Phase.