3,000 Days of Bleeding

What Exactly Goes on During the Menstrual Phase

Source: Getty Images

When does this phase occur?

The beginning of your menstrual cycle begins with your period, during the aptly named Menstrual Phase. This phase occurs concurrently with the beginning of the Follicular Phase which is the pre-ovulatory phase including menstruation and proliferation. Typically your period will last between 3–7 days.

What happens during this phase?

During the Menstrual Phase, your body releases the broken-down uterine lining, the egg your body doesn’t need anymore, mucus, and of course, blood. During the Follicular Phase and Ovulation Phase, the lining of your uterus thickens to prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. If you do not become pregnant, then the endometrium, or uterine lining sheds.

What hormones change during this phase?

Your period is a time of low hormones all around — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Source: Hello Clue

What should the food focus be during this phase?

When you begin your Menstrual Phase, it’s important that you focus on adding nutrients to your system. During this phase focus your attention on warmth and comfort. The foods you eat should be blood-building, restoring, and re-mineralizing the body and kidneys. You can do this by boosting water-rich fruits and vegetables. Think about your diet during this phase as something to nourish and heal.

  • Fruit: Watermelon, berries, mangoes, oranges, bananas
  • Carbs: Brown rice, cauliflower rice
  • Protein: Eggs, kelp, halibut
  • Seeds: Flax and pumpkin
  • Supplement: Flaxseed, kefir, magnesium, dark chocolate

What’s the best way to exercise during this phase?

Somehow, I have never thought that I may want to plan my workouts around my cycle. One of my to-do-list-making tendencies is to schedule workouts weeks in advance and had never considered my hormonal changes. Just because I feel great sweating buckets during a 60-minutes HIIT workout one Monday, doesn’t mean the next Monday I’ll feel the same.

What kind of discharge should I expect during this phase?

Surprise surprise, the discharge you’ll experience during this phase is blood as your uterus sheds the endometrium.

Source: Anna Shvets

What’s the focus of sex during this phase?

So, let’s talk about getting it on during your period. If you are a vagina-owner, you have undoubtedly had all sorts of experiences when it comes to periods and sex. Men being disgusted by menstruation is perhaps one of the most emblematic traits of the patriarchy. The answer for whether or not you can/should have sex on your period is — whatever you’re comfortable with is perfect. Or as my friend says — if you like it, I love it. If the thought of getting it on while you bleed makes you anxious or queasy, by all means, don’t do it. But if you are chomping at the bit to get it on and your partner is grossed out by the natural functions of your body…well…maybe reconsider some things. I’ve always found that the most grown-ass men will not only be okay with period sex, but they might be really into it. In my book, being disgusted by my body’s natural process — be it bleeding or pubic hair — makes you a boy, not a man.

This Poem Lives Rent Free in My Mind:

Pastimes include playing with words, using my passport, and eating croissants. A writer of all things gender, culture, and travel.

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