Why Women Are Superheroes
Dr. Ashley Margeson
Because the Superwoman Podcast was born of a need to finally take what I’ve been working on with so many of my patients and try to put it together into a lovely sounding podcast. AH! So why do this?
Because I truly believe that your hormones are a superpower. I believe that you can be more productive, that you can focus, that you can optimize your cycles and fully LOVE and THRIVE in your life when your hormones are working for you.
Our hormones are these fat molecules that are these initiators of a communication chain around our body. They’re responsible for just about everything from brain chemistry to metabolism to, you guessed it, periods, fertility and menopause. But we must have been put on this earth and given hormones for more reasons than just having babies if we so choose… right?
Women are more than men with breasts and uteruses… right?
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Estrogen and testosterone start out at rock bottom on the first day of your period (day 1!), then they steadily rise.
This phase lasts approximately 3-7 days.
You’ll probably feel a sense of release and relief when menstruation starts. Your energy is supposed to be low, and you’ll feel fatigued, introverted and maybe introspective. This leads to a desire to rest and take a break from daily duties.
Introducing quietness and pauses in your day can be tremendously helpful.
PHASE 2: THE FOLLICULAR PHASE
The follicular phase begins after menstruation and lasts for 7 to 10 days. This is when your pituitary gland releases a hormone called the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This stimulates the follicles containing eggs to mature in your ovaries. The pituitary gland then starts to release the Leutenizing Hormone (LH), which is responsible for ovulation. Your cervical fluid (vaginal discharge) takes on a wetter consistency. It typically looks creamy.
Estrogen and Testosterone start to increase gradually through this time. This boosts your mood, energy and focus. Your confidence increases, you feel more powerful and you’re willing to take more risks.
Your sex drive increases, but you are also more impulsive. Estrogen improves your skin’s look and texture. You may feel more extroverted and want to be more social with others.
PHASE 3: OVULATION
This is the shortest phase of your cycle, and lasts for only about 2-3 days. It’s the culmination of all the hard work your body has been doing over the previous weeks. Although this phase is a few days, the actual surge of ovulate to release an egg is only a few moments long.
Right before ovulation there is a surge of LH. This causes the dominant follicle to burst open and release its egg into the fallopian tube.
Estrogen and Testosterone continue their rise to peak levels, boosting all the effects you enjoyed during the follicular phase. You’ll also look more attractive during this time thanks to those surges in hormones and you’ll feel more confident about your appearance.
PHASE 4: THE LUTEAL PHASE
Generally known as the part of your cycle where PMS symptoms start to appear, the Luteal Phase is actually the power and productivity part of your cycle — as long as you have a plan from the follicular phase to help you out.
In total, the follicular phase typically lasts from 12 to 16 days. Evidence shows that a 14 day luteal phase tends to be the most ideal; with a longer luteal phase generally resulting in more severe and noticeable PMS symptoms and a shorter luteal phase making it difficult to maintain a pregnancy.
After ovulation, FSH and LH levels sharply decline and remain low for the rest of the cycle. Estrogen and testosterone gradually decline and the corpus luteum from the follicle that released the egg will start to produce progesterone, causing this hormone to rise gradually.
PHASE 5: THE (SECONDARY) LUTEAL PHASE
During the second week of the luteal phase, estrogen will slightly rise again in preparation for pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone will drop and cause the uterine lining to shed.
PMS symptoms begin to appear at this time and your body’s inflammatory cascades increase. You may retain water, have cravings and become more bloated. You may even experience mood swings and depressive thoughts and feelings. Your anxiety may be heightened.
This phase of your cycle tends to heighten the reactions that are naturally occurring thanks to your environment, your habits and your genetics.
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