When I learned about gut health, I also started wondering about women's health. Maybe we are not designed to be uncomfortable every month?
Maybe PMS symptoms are not a byproduct of being a woman, but a byproduct of how we treat our female bodies? Maybe we get mood swings and cramps and acne and fatigue because we just don't really understand them?
I was thinking about this out loud to my friends and they looked at me funny. PMS is just part of the deal of being a woman, isn't it?
Well, that ís what society teaches us.
But I started to think: no.
I don't think we were designed to suffer.
I think we were designed to feel fantastic.
And if we don't, it means that we are doing something wrong.
A few weeks ago I found Maddie Miles on Instagram.
And I got my answers.
She dropped a huge lightning-bolt-moment-bomb on me.
Men have circadian rhythms.
Their cycle is a 24 hour one.
They replenish every 24 hrs.
They are attuned to the sun.
This circadian cycle makes men quick and sharp. They go up and down and all around within a day. Driven by testosteron, they are designed to react and spring into action. To protect. To hunt and build. To focus on the outside world. Because that is where men create life: outside of them.
But women have another cycle: the infradian cycle.
This cycle lasts approximately 28 days.
That means we replenish every 28 days.
We are attuned to the moon.
This means that we ebb and flow throughout our days with a massive undercurrent. This extra cycle makes us move slower and deeper. We have longer lasting phases. Whatever we feel, it is likely that it will last a little longer. And that we emerge from every phase a little wiser. We go deep. We are designed to intuit. To feel. To receive. To flow. To focus on our inner world. Because that is where women create life: inside of them.
But we apply this male-24-hr-cycle-only to all of us!
We copy-paste men's design to our female bodies!
And doesn't it feel totally logical that women's bodies feel off more frequently, if we constantly push them into a design that doesn't really fit them?
It's not that we are weaker, irrational and more prone to disease. It's just that: We. Are. Not. Men.
Our bodies are different.
And that means we need a different approach to life.
Read my explanation of the infradian cycle on the right (or below on your phone). But first, a little rant ;)
MEN VS WOMEN - SCIENCE VS NATURE
I think we need to stop trying to "catch up" to men.
We need to stop trying to prove that we can beat them at their own game.
If we keep playing by their rules, we will never live up to our own potential, will we?
We need to learn about our own ways.
That is where our power lies.
We get to be feminine.
It's just as vital as being masculine.
We complement each other.
We make each other better.
And I'm just so baffled that it took me so long to see this.
It's just all so logical!
And I am so perplexed that our health care system doesn't honour this natural infradian cycle. That doctors, who are interested in the human body and the healing arts, get so side-tracked that they don't see our connection to nature anymore. It's like their petri dishes make them blind for what goes on around them.
Shouldn't they ALSO be questioning why almost all women suffer from these symptoms in the first place? Instead of only prescribing them the pill to alleviate symptoms? Because let's be honest, the pill only makes women more disconnected from their natural cycles and their inner worlds.
And I'm just so stunned that when doctors do come into contact with this theory, most of them brush it off as some kind of alternative-natural-hippie-woowoo-gibberish.
But...we ARE nature! We ARE biology!
Isn't that what you studied?
That nature IS science?
Science isn't just pills and shots.
Science is also studying nature and her patterns.
It was never nature VERSUS science.
It was never women VERSUS men.
It was always AND.
And anyone who dismisses one side completely, is wounded.
I just can't believe I've been a woman for 35 years and have had a menstrual cycle for 20+ years and I am just learning about all of this now. And that it took a serious illness, 4 years of isolation and a lot of growth for this common sense to really sink in and click.
That just shows how repressed feminine values are in our culture. We don't learn to go deep and slow. We don't intuit, receive and observe enough. Somewhere along the lines, we've been taught that these strengths are weaknesses. And with that we've given up our superpowers.
Let's. Take. Them. Back!
You can start by learning about our natural rhythms.
I assume you know a bit about the menstrual cycle - but do you know what each phase means energetically? And how it's connected to nature? Let's break it down! Read about it on the right (or below on your phone).
Art by Real Fun, Wow!
The Infradian Cycle
The Infradian Cycle has 4 phases.
Just like a day (morning, midday, evening, night).
Just like a year (spring, summer, autumn, winter).
But this cycle is not connected to the sun.
It is connected to the moon.
Hence it lasts about 28 days.
The Follicular Phase
Female body: an egg is growing and getting ready to pop!
Nature: this phase is linked to the waxing moon. The morning. Spring time.
Energy: Wake up honey, it's a new day! This week is all about coming to life. It's like having breakfast after a night of deep sleep. The engines start running. You think about your upcoming day. Inspiration and excitement are in the air. You are creative and intuitive. This phase is all about making plans and looking forward to them.
It lasts about one week (the week after your menstruation).
The Ovulatory Phase
Female body: an egg is popping - all ripe and ready for conception!
Nature: this phase is connected to the Full Moon. Midday. Summer.
Energy: The time is now! Let's get going! The egg is ready to burst - and so are you! The sun is shining fiercely, you are highly productive and peaking energetically. Testosteron is high this week so let's ride along with this bad boy and carry out our beautiful plans! You are more extroverted, talkative and highly sociable during this week.
This phase lasts about one week in the middle of your cycle.
The Luteal Phase
Female body: building the endomitrium lining - a cozy home for a possible conception. No conception? Let's prepare to break it all down! Hormones lower in the second week as we prepare to let go of what is no longer needed.
Nature: waning moon. Afternoon/evening. The fall. Leaves are dropping and so are our hormone levels!
Energy: still productive, but you feel the call to slow down. We start to unwind, tend to ourselves. Relax. We move inwards. We prepare for the deep rest and shedding that is coming up.
This phase lasts two weeks. The second week is the week before menstruation - when most women experience PMS symptoms. I was contemplating why. Why do we get these nasty symptoms during this phase specifically? Maybe because we start to let go of what we don't need - which is like detoxing. Everything that is unwanted and suppresed, is coming to the surface now. To be released.
In a way, getting these symptoms is a blessing: we get to see and feel what is actually going on inside our bodies. Where are we not balanced? We get to contemplate and adjust.
This is a huge health advantage that we have over men. Because men are so driven by testosteron, they tend to feel less and suppress more. So when something is off, they will only feel it in a later, more advanced stage. So, women: be thankful for the signals your body gives you and be mindful of this for the men in your lives!
The Menstrual Phase
Female body: we bleed. We let go of what we don't need. Hormones are at their lowest.
Nature: new moon. The night. Winter.
Energy: Deep rest and replenishment. The Menstrual Phase is like deep sleep. We let our subconscious take over and process. Let go. Nothing you need to do now. Time to recover so we can start fresh soon.
During this phase, your intuition is at an all time high. Surrender and turn inwards so you can connect to it. Your subconscious will give you many messages - so go listen and explore that rich inner world of yours!
Did you know we actually burn about 100-300 calories more per day during this week (and the week before)? Your body is working hard! Food-cravings and fatigue don't seem so irrational now, do they?! Surrender.
Support the Cycle
Can you see that there's magic to each phase? And the cool thing is that you can support each phase to make the very best of it. By fine-tuning the type of exercise and your social- and workcalendar.
But - there is more! Each phase is dominated by certain hormones and hormones are build from...food! That means that there are certain foods that are extra beneficial during each phase. It's called Cycle Syncing. Ain't that cool?
If you want to learn more about the Infradian Cycle and Cycle Syncing in a fun and light way, follow @themaddiemiles on Instagram or go to her website. She also has a free podcast!
A little disclaimer. This is not to say that women cannot fight, build and create and men cannot intuit, feel and nurture. Absolutely not. We are all everything. We get to be and do whatever we want. It's just that our rhythms are different. And we have to tend to our bodies the way they want to be tended to. And as the majority of women suffer from some form of hormonal disbalance, I don't think we are doing it right.
I googled estrogene and progresteron and seriously: all the google hits were about the disbalances and the awful symptoms these hormones cause. Isn't that just proof that we are not handling our female bodies very well...? Of course there is more stuff that messes with our hormones. Fe. chemical pollutants and heavy metals are big ones.