Know Your Cycle: Follicular Phase
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, half the world’s population is female.
And of those females, about half are within an age bracket which have their period. While there is this huge percentage of the population that have their menstrual cycles, there is so little information given to us about what exactly happens during that monthly cycle; that one week that you’re on your period is not the only hormonal change you go through during the month. Lucky for us (eye roll), our hormones are fluctuating daily, preparing our bodies for the next step.
Throughout the next four weeks we will be covering the Follicular phase, Ovulation, the Luteal phase and the period itself to give you some insight into why symptoms happen when they do and this will all be from a Traditional Chinese Medical perspective!
What is the Follicular Phase?
This is the first two weeks of your cycle. Day 1 is the first day of your period so the follicular phase technically includes your period. However, there will be a separate article for this phase, so I will be focusing on the second week (day 7-14). During this time, your uterus has just shed the lining and is now beginning to build blood again (so it can happen all over again the next month). This phase is just prior to Ovulation (more on that next week), so during this week, there are follicle(s) growing on an ovary, getting ready to release an egg. To find out more about your cycle and related fertility, reference this article!
Hormonally, estrogen (the blood builder) is increasing rapidly and progesterone (the blood maintainer) remains low. Your basal body temperature (temperature tested when you FIRST wake up in the morning) is slowly, steadily increasing. Our bodies are frigging cool. Go, girls!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In TCM, there is Yin and Yang. Yin is substance, heaviness, blood; Yang is movement and energy. In the Follicular phase, women have Blood Yin Deficiency by nature. This just means that the focus of treatment during this time is nourish blood and Yin. This can be done through acupuncture (if you’re interested in this in Hamilton and Guelph, check out these ladies), nutrition, and herbal supplementation.
With acupuncture and herbal supplementation, supporting the Liver and Spleen is the usually the focus.
How To Incorporate
During this phase of your cycle, try doing less intense exercise as you’re body is building Yin. You’re challenge of the week – if you’re in this phase – is to do this exercise below daily. Pay close attention to how your body is feeling before and after doing these phase-supportive movements.
Excerpt from: Acupuncture Desk Reference V.2, Kuoch