Why Do Women Get Periods? 6 Facts About Your Menstrual Cycle
Learn why women get periods, why menstruation is good for us, and what the “Venus Week” is. These facts about your menstrual cycle are from Dr Rebecca Booth.
First, a quip about women and menstruation from Whoopi Goldberg…
“Whenever women are together for more than two days, they talk about their periods,” says Goldberg.
You’ll have lots more to say if you’re armed with these facts about your menstrual cycle! Dr. Rebecca Booth, author of The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle…at Any Age encourages women to think in positive terms about their periods and hormonal power.
And read on for fascinating facts about your period…
Why Do Women Get Periods?
1. The very first period, known as menarche, heralds the gift of the reproductive cycle, endowing a young woman with the option to someday carry a child. Many cultures (such as native Americans) celebrate this event as a sacred passage. The period is the sloughing off of the uterine lining, the starting point of the cycle of hormones that is responsible for fertility.
2. Regular periods are the best sign of hormone balance. When my patients feel their hormones are “out of whack”, one of the first questions I ask is if they have regular periods. Assuming a patient is not pregnant, nursing or in menopause, a regular menstrual cycle indicates that things are working the way Mother Nature intended.
If you’re skipping periods or not menstruating at all, read 8 Natural Ways to Regulate Your Period.
3. A regular period is a sign that you are having a “Venus Week” – the week that follows menstruation and leads up to ovulation. The hormonal “recipe” that begins shortly after the period starts helps us look and feel our best. Once my patients understand that their period signals the beginning of a cycle they look forward to the ideal week that follows, and usually notice a significant improvement in how they feel and look on or about day three or four of their period.
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4. The least ideal part of the cycle is not your period. The low point for women hormonally is not their period, but the days that occur just before it. It is the pre–menstrual period when women experience a significant drop in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and often report feeling their energy declining (thus PMS). While most women associate PMS with their hormones it is actually the absence of hormones during this period that leaves them feeling less than ideal.
5. Bloating is reduced during your period. The period follows a drop in progesterone, a hormone that encourages water retention and slows metabolism. Usually a day or two after the period starts progesterone is low and most women lose water weight and metabolize carbs better.
If your period is unpredictable, read How to Get a Normal Monthly Period.
6. The purpose of the period is a cleansing or sloughing of the old uterine lining to make way for that of the next cycle. The uterus contracts to gently push this lining out, and the remarkable contraction movements can actually be visualized on a pelvic ultrasound. Painful cramps can result if the uterus is strongly tilted back (retroverted), if the opening (the cervix) is narrow, or if the lining is very thick. The birth control pill causes a temporary thinning of the lining; making the periods less heavy and painful.
If you have problems with your period, read 4 Types of Menstrual Problems.
In her book, The Venus Week, Dr. Booth discusses the way a woman’s hormonal cycle really works and how knowledge can empower women (in and out of the bedroom!). The Venus Week is the one week of the month when estrogen (the “feel-good hormone”) and testosterone (the “hormone of desire”) are at their peak.
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