If you’ve heard of (or experienced!) baby brain, think of “period brain” as its close cousin who comes around too often and from which you have no escape. The science behind it isn’t as conclusive, but chances are you know what it means without having to look it up. After all, your period makes you think, feel, and be all sorts of ways: irritable then suddenly social, starving then beyond bloated, space-y then sharper than a tack. What gives?
See, the female menstrual cycle comes with a cascade of moods and bodily needs, and your body has your hormones to thank. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone fluctuate throughout your cycle, which affects your general health and well-being.
If your period is more or less regular, tracking these changes can help you prep accordingly and swerve bad days. We referenced Hormonology, a website dedicated to understanding your hormones, to get a better idea of what we go through month on month. Below, we offer a simplified version of what we learned—with a few recos for best practices!
PERIOD LOG: HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY DURING EVERY PHASE OF YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
EXPECT: Estrogen levels to start its steady climb. You might feel tired and withdrawn during the first few days of bleeding, but the boost in estrogen should improve your mood. On top of this, your memory and ability to learn new things improve, your libido climbs, and your desire to be social spikes. If you like to work out, estrogen eases muscle-building. You may also notice your appetite shrinking.
BEST PRACTICES: Make the most of estrogen’s natural appetite-suppressing effects by loading up on healthy eats. Pick up new hobbies, meet up with friends, and do resistance training to build strength while your body’s extra receptive to it.
TRY: Active Resistance Tube Trainer, P2,500, Manila Superfoods Almonds (250g), P295, Farm to Falk Organic Brown Adlai (1kg), P350, Earth Desserts Vegan Brownie Brittle, P150, Take Root Kale Chips Rosemary Peppercorn Flavor, P220
EXPECT: Estrogen and progesterone to rise until they peak. Your mood and energy will continue their positive streak, putting you on a cycle of good vibes. With estrogen on an uptick, you’ll feel more confident and your face will appear more symmetrical. Your pain tolerance will be much higher too, while your appetite continues to drop. On the downside, high estrogen may also make you more vulnerable to stress.
BEST PRACTICES: Continue on your healthy eating kick, as it’s much easier to stick to during this phase than any other time. Indulge your social side and schedule important meetings to take advantage of your growing sense of confidence. Of course, make sure to exercise self-care and give yourself lots of downtime to minimize anxieties.
TRY: doTERRA Lavender Touch, P1,090, The Coffee Bea and Tea Leaf Fresh Leaf Tea Mint, P320, Mizon Joyful Time Mask (Aloe), P45, YogaLove Healing Cream Pump Bottle, P550, Modern Rituals by HIMA Rose Quartz Facial Roller, P1,240
EXPECT: Estrogen and testosterone to drop while progesterone rises, then estrogen to rise again. The first half of this phase feels a lot like PMS, so you’ll find yourself irritable and in low spirits. Thankfully, when estrogen goes up in the second half, your mood should normalize. Progesterone may make you feel fatigued, emotional, bloated, and prone to cravings. It can also make your body better at burning fat.
BEST PRACTICES: Keep your blood sugar stable by eating balanced meals (on time!) to keep mood swings at bay. Try not to indulge in too many unhealthy treats, but don’t be too strict with yourself either. Load up on fiber to treat constipation, exercise to get rid of toxins and boost happy hormones, and rest when you need to rest.
TRY: ASAB Organics Golden Flaxseeds (150g), P140, Philippine Pure Chia Seeds (500g), P550, Snack Box Triple Chocolate Brownie Crunch, P85, One Bar Birthday Cake (60g), P159, Oh So Healthy Mango Sweet Potato Banana Fruit Crisps, P95
EXPECT: Estrogen and progesterone to drop completely. This is the dreaded “PMS” week, or the moody period before your period. With estrogen on a decline, you’re likely to be less optimistic, less open, and more inclined to carbo-load to up your serotonin. Your appetite will also continue to be at a high, thanks to the lack of progesterone.
BEST PRACTICES: Opt for healthy fats and carbs over greasy fast food, especially when the progesterone-induced cravings hit. Snack smart and in moderation. Exercise more to boost your serotonin naturally. Remember that your hormones are in flux, so try to keep a level head especially in stressful situations.
TRY: Made by Maxi Almond Butter - Extra Dark Cacao (240g), P365, Veganola PH Peanut Butter Energy Bites (Tub of 20), P280, Nuttin’ Better Omega-3 Heart Healthy Mix, P195, Ja Lees Farms Mushroom Chicharon Peri Peri Flavor (100g), P175
But as always, it’s best to consult with your physician if you have any questions specific to your body. They know you best!
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