If you’re menstruating, you probably know roughly when your period starts and ends. But there are other signs and signals your cycle gives you about your health.
Natural fertility expert Nat Kringoudis shared some ways you can decode what your menstrual cycle is trying to tell you.
How your cycle communicates with you
Symptoms as simple as gas or bloating, to symptoms as complex as period pains or migraines, are all signs that your body is talking to you, says Nat.
“Your menstrual cycle may feel overwhelming or too difficult to understand, but it’s a wonderfully clear communicator that gives you an inner window into your gynecological and reproductive health,” she adds.
“With a few tips, you can use them to decode what your body is trying to tell you.”
Nat Kringoudoud gave us her top five tips for using your cycle to your advantage.
The date of ovulation
“If you’re lucky enough to be able to pinpoint when you’re ovulating, you can use that information in a variety of ways,” says Nat.
“This is the so-called method of promoting fertility awareness – observing the body’s signs around the cycle.”
“If you’re regularly ovulating early or late, that can be an indication of how your hormones are doing.”
“Early ovulation, for example, indicates low estrogen levels, while late ovulation may indicate elevated estrogen levels.”
“In order to accurately determine when you’re ovulating, I recommend investing in a quality hormone-free fertility monitor.”
“I recommend Daysy because it can predict your infertile days with 99.4% accuracy, increasing your chances of conceiving.”
Bloating towards the end of the cycle
“It’s a good idea to monitor your gas, bloating, or swelling,” says Nat.
“Bully can have a variety of causes, and we often blame our digestive system for it.”
“That’s not wrong, but your hormones can also play a role.”
“If you have bloating, puffiness, or a general feeling of fullness later in the cycle, it may be due to a lack of a hormone called progesterone.”
A missed cycle
“If you miss your period altogether, that’s a big indicator of your hormones,” says Nat.
“Missing your period (amenorrhea) can be due to a number of imbalances, most commonly low hormone levels, use of the pill, or sometimes other, more complex factors.”
“A single missed period isn’t generally a cause for concern, but if you’re missing more than three periods, you should talk to your doctor.”
Period pain means inflammation
“It’s very simple, but many of us are told that pain is part of being a woman and we accept that without looking,” says Nat.
“Bottom line: If you’re in pain at the same time every cycle, your body is trying to tell you something, and inflammation or stagnation is likely the cause of the pain.”
“I recommend cutting back on pro-inflammatory foods for a cycle to see if that reduces pain.”
Surprising cause for some heavy periods
“Your uterine lining is affected by estrogen, so the equation is pretty simple: more estrogen = more lining = more bleeding,” says Nat.
“If you’re having heavy bleeding, that’s probably a response to excess estrogen, and again, your body’s way of telling you that your estrogen needs some attention.”
“One of the best ways to ensure your estrogen is regulated is to have regular bowel movements.”
“Excess hormones (like estrogen) are excreted through the intestines. However, if they are not excreted daily, they can be reabsorbed and make the problem worse.”
Learn the clues to your cycle
“I want to encourage you to pay attention not only to what signs and symptoms your body is showing you, but also when they occur in the cycle. That can help you figure out if your hormones are part of the mystery,” says Nat.
“Regardless of your symptoms, your body is actually communicating with you.”
“Invest in a non-invasive tracker like Daysy so you can accurately record your cycle and, over time, get a clear sense of your rhythm.”
“Please listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, nine times out of ten it isn’t right.”