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The Basics of Menstruation _HHC July18

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>> Hey there, and welcome back. It's great to see you today. In this lecture, we're going to talk about periods. The menstrual cycle is a healthy part of every woman's life, yet it's often treated as something negative, bad, and even dirty. In fact, many women still think of their period as the curse. And this is largely because many women still experience a slew of negative symptoms in the days leading up to and during their time of the month. But what if a woman's period could actually be the key to living her best life? This may sound too good to be true, but period problems can actually be a thing of the past. Most women understand the basic mechanics of their period but not the nuances that can lead to vibrant hormonal health. In this lecture, we'll be discussing the four phases of the menstrual cycle along with the physical and emotional facts of each. But we'll also talk about the fluctuations in cervical fluid throughout the phases of the cycle which can be helpful for managing fertility. Plus, you'll learn how to help your female clients work with their cycle instead of against it. With the info we'll be passing along here, you can teach your female clients how to embrace every phase of their menstrual cycle so they can feel vibrant and aligned. Imagine how amazing they'll feel when they get their hormones working for them rather than against them and begin to truly go with the flow. The menstrual cycle can be divided into four phases. It can be helpful to think of them as the four seasons in nature. The female body naturally moves through each phase from spring when new life is possible all the way through to winter when it's time to take a break and rest. The four phases of the menstrual cycle are the follicular, ovulatory, luteal, and bleeding phases. Think of the follicular phase as the spring season, the ovulatory phase as summer, the luteal phase as the fall season, and the bleeding phase as winter. Let's discuss the physical and emotional impacts of each phase while also considering changes in cervical fluid throughout the cycle. This can be important clues for helping your female clients figure out which phase of their cycle they're currently in. The follicular phase is the time in the menstrual cycle when the ovaries are preparing and ripening an egg. It's important to keep in mind that a woman's body is always preparing to get pregnant. This is the beginning stage of that process. The follicular phase begins on the first day of menstruation and ends the day before ovulation. To make it easy, think of it as the phase between menstruation and ovulation. During the follicular phase, the pituitary gland releases a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH. FSH stimulates the follicles which contain woman's eggs in one of the ovaries to mature. In response, the pituitary gland then starts to release luteinizing hormone, or LH, which is responsible for ovulation. Under normal circumstances, only one of these follicles will ripen and become mature. At the beginning of the follicular phase, estrogen and testosterone levels are typically low. They slowly ramp up during this phase, and as this happens, your clients will begin to experience a boost in energy, mood, and brain skills. They'll start to feel more confident, powerful, and willing to take more risks. Testosterone starts to stimulate their libido while also making them feel a little bit bolder. Estrogen will make their skin look and feel better during this phase. It also makes them feel more extroverted and pushes them to be more social and to connect with other people. And here's a bonus, estrogen suppresses appetite which can make them feel lighter and less weighed down during this phase. As ovulation approaches, the uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy. The cervix remains low and closed but gradually opens and starts producing wetter quality cervical fluid. What do I mean by that? Cervical fluid is usually dry for the first few days after menstruation, but it takes on a wetter consistency as estrogen builds and stimulates the cervix. In the days leading up to ovulation, it begins to look pasty or creamy. If you're wondering why I'm sharing this with you, it's because women are most fertile in the last days of the follicular phase leading up to ovulation. So this is an important clue. They should use birth control if they do not wish to get pregnant. As described a moment ago, the follicular phase of the cycle correlates to the spring season. Internally, the body is starting the fertility process all over again by preparing an egg, and externally, it's a time for renewal, beginning new things, and making social connections. The follicular phase is a good time for initiating new projects at work or at home, making important business and personal decisions, brainstorming and problem solving, strategizing in business or at work, being social and connecting with others, and participating in strenuous physical exercise. The ovulatory phase, which you can think of as summer, is the phase in which the egg is released from the ovary. This phase is short, usually only lasting about two to three days. Right before ovulation, there is a surge of LH which causes the dominant follicle to burst open and release its egg into the fallopian tube. The egg will be viable for roughly 12 to 24 hours. And if it is not fertilized, it will disintegrate. Here's a super cool fact about the cervix during the ovulatory phase. The cervix moves up higher so the egg can get the best sperm, meaning the sperm have to swim farther to get to the egg. Only the fittest sperm will survive the seemingly long journey up to the cervix, through the uterus, and up one of the fallopian tubes. Additionally, the cervix will become soft and open. The cervical fluid is considered to be fertile during this phase. It's typically clear or resembles egg whites, and it's viscous with lots of elasticity. What this means is it will stretch if held between the thumb and forefinger. During this time, it's also possible for the cervical fluid to be very wet and watery as well which is still considered to be fertile cervical fluid. Healthy fertile cervical fluid nourishes the sperm, protects them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and it guides them toward the egg. Physically, levels of estrogen and testosterone are at their peak during the ovulatory phase. Women often report looking and feeling more attractive during this time and their sex drive tends to be highest. After all, the body is programmed to maximize genetic potential. So naturally, it will get you in the mood to get it on when your window for fertility is open. To help with this, energy levels are often high during this time. So women should continue to enjoy lots of physical activity and high-impact workouts, especially group workouts. The ovulatory phase is a good time for job interviews or anything where you need to be on your A game, asking for a raise or having important conversations, networking or public-speaking events, launching a new business or venture, scheduling date night with your partner or asking someone out, and physical exercise, activities, and sports. Next, the luteal phase occurs when the egg is not fertilized, and the body begins to prepare to release it. This phase typically lasts about 12 to 16 days. For it to be considered and optimal fertile cycle, the luteal phase should be within this range because a fertilized egg usually takes at least 10 days to travel from the fallopian tube and implant into the uterine lining. After ovulation, FSH and LH levels sharply decline and remain low for the rest of the cycle. Estrogen and testosterone decline as well, but estrogen will make another appearance later on in the luteal phase. Early in the luteal phase, the follicle that release the egg will transform into what is known as the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland that produces progesterone. This heat-inducing hormone will rise gradually raising a woman's basal body temperature during the luteal phase. If a woman is using a fertility awareness-based method or birth control, this temperature rise after ovulation is how she will know she's ovulated. Progesterone also stimulates the growth of the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. And it's responsible for transforming cervical fluid from stretchy and wet to sticky and dryness phase. Here's something really interesting. If one were to look at it under a microscope, it would look like a basket weave texture. This serves to block sperm, and this is why it's referred to as infertile cervical fluid because sperm find it particularly hard to swim through. Think of this phase as the autumn season of the cycle. It's helpful to think of this phase broken down into two halves. Emotionally, during the first half of the luteal phase, women are often still riding high off the effects of the ovulatory or summer phase. However, as progesterone production increases, they'll find themselves starting to wind down and wanting to avoid the social scene of the first half of the cycle. Remember way back in the beginning of this course, we refer to progesterone as the keep calm and carry on hormone? Well, that's because progesterone is a natural sleep aid and anti-anxiety hormone, kind of like a natural valium. This makes the luteal phase a good time for nesting, organizing your home or office, and taking care of your personals, to-do lists, and chores. Your brain prioritizes attention to detail in this phase, so it's a great time to take care of bookkeeping and accounting tasks as well. During the second week of the luteal phase, estrogen will rise again slightly to further prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. If there's no pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone will drop and cause the uterine lining to shed during the bleeding phase. The second half of the luteal phase is notoriously difficult for so many women. This is the dreaded PMS week. If you're a woman, there's a good chance you've experienced some of the negative effects. In fact, 80% of women feel some emotional or physical symptoms in the second half of their cycle. And 20% experience symptoms severe enough to seek medical attention. Women most commonly report experiencing a physical PMS symptoms like headaches, bloating, moodiness, and cravings for carbohydrate-heavy comfort foods. And the second half of the luteal phase is a good time to clear the calendar of big social events to conserve energy. As women get closer to their period, they may experience a feeling of a physical fullness and a strong desire and anxiousness to release this fullness. Thankfully, this will happen when their period begins. Practices to help cope with the luteal phase include really good self-care practices like massage and baths, nourishing and healthy comfort foods that won't disrupt blood sugar, gentle exercise like yin yoga, and getting to bed earlier or sleeping in later. You may have clients who feel isolated in their experiences during this stage of their cycle. And it can be helpful to assure them they're not alone and that the symptoms are real. This is an important time to make sure they're getting enough primary foods. As innate nurturers, many women tend to push forward to take care of others while paying less attention to their own needs. They and those around them may take for granted that they need some extra support during this time. A woman's body is governed by cycles, and during this part of her cycle, there is a remarkable cascade of hormonal events taking place that are bound to cause some physical and emotional symptoms. Are your female clients taking their deserved time to relax and nourish themselves during this time? Moving on to the final phase. The bleeding phase occurs when the lining of the uterus is shed. Think of this as the winter season of the cycle, when the body is clearing out what's no longer needed and preparing for new growth. This phase lasts for about two to seven days for most women. In some cases, it can be longer and even shorter depending on whether a woman has certain hormonal imbalances. The bleeding phase begins when progesterone levels drop causing the lining of the uterus to break down and shed. Your clients may feel a sense of release and relief when menstruation starts. During this week, their energy is the lowest it will be during their cycle. They may feel tired, withdrawn, and introspective. This naturally leads to a desire to rest and take a break from daily duties or even take a day off. Encourage your female clients to find a way to take it easy during this time. A day off may not be possible for most women, but taking time to introduce some quietness into their day can be tremendously helpful. This may look like a short walk, some gentle stretching, or closing their eyes and focusing on deep breathing for five minutes. You can help your clients make the most of this time with some key lifestyle adjustments. These include giving themselves some downtime for restoration, trusting their intuition, and getting some loving. Downtime is needed during this restorative time. Your clients may find themselves craving peace and quiet, so encourage them to clear their schedule so they can spend more time alone. This is probably not the time to make big plans or go on a date with someone new. Instead recommend that they leave their calendar as open as possible. Journaling, visioning, and goal setting are very helpful for women during this time of the cycle. Intuition is heightened at this time. Did you know that communication between the right and left sides of the brain is heightened throughout this phase of the cycle? Intuition and gut feelings are strongest during menstruation, which enhance a woman's ability to evaluate a situation. Oftentimes, women have intuitive hints about relationships that aren't working or other areas in their life that need attention. Suggest that your clients take note of these feelings and set their intentions for the month ahead. Some self-love and tender care can really help during this phase. If your clients get headaches and menstrual cramps during their period, you can recommend they try a hot water bottle, self-message, or some gentle yoga poses. Also, while this may not feel like the sexiest time of the month for some women, it's a good time to get intimate with oneself or a partner. Physical touch and orgasms trigger the production of oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding, which also happens to reduce physical pain. Lastly, light physical activity and gentle movement can help ease cramps but remind your clients to take it easy during this time. Encourage them to avoid stress on the ligaments that are attached to the uterus. This means taking a breather from basically any exercise that feels extremely strenuous like CrossFit, bootcamps, spinning, and running. These are a few of the many great ways for your clients to take better care of themselves during this often challenging time of their cycle. You may want to get creative and help them define what's most restorative for them. What's most important is that they take time to pause and rest, whatever that looks like for them. When your clients honor the body's innate need for rest and relaxation during this phase, it will go a long way toward creating hormonal resilience. And that wraps up our discussion of the four phases of the menstrual cycle. To recap, there's the follicular phase or spring phase, which is when the ovaries prepare the egg, the ovulatory phase or summer phase when the egg is released, the luteal phase or autumn phase when the body prepares to release an unfertilized egg, and the bleeding phase or winter phase when the uterine lining sheds and the unfertilized egg is released. Cervical fluid changes throughout the cycle in accordance with the woman's fertility in each phase. We discussed how each phase has its own distinct physical and emotional signs. Specific activities and types of exercises can be done during each of the phases to work with rather than against the body's physical state during that time. Encourage your clients to maximize their high level of energy and sociability during the follicular phase, ovulatory phase, and early luteal phase, and to prepare themselves for rest and self-care during the late luteal phase and bleeding phase. Thanks for joining us today. Before tuning into this lecture, did you ever think about creating an inner balance by living in sync with the menstrual cycle? Have you ever done this for yourself or helped a client enhance her experience with her menstrual cycle? Please be sure to stop by the Facebook group to discuss and share your experiences. I hope you enjoyed this lecture. See you soon.

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 4 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Oct 31, 2018

The Basics of Menstruation _Final

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