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The Female Cycle #2 Follicular

Updated: May 28

The Dynamic Phase - Follicular




The follicular phase kicks in once your period waves goodbye. During menstruation, estrogen starts to rise slowly, gearing up for its peak during ovulation, the phase after the follicular stage. It's a phase we often overlook, but it's crucial. This is when an egg, on its 90-day journey, becomes dominant and gets ready to take its leap during ovulation. Estrogen reigns supreme during this phase, helping to build up the uterine lining and cervical mucus (discharge). The more we embrace a pure and natural lifestyle, the less our hormones will play havoc with our cycle, reducing PMS, painful periods, or missed ovulations.


The follicular phase is also known as the preparatory phase. Think of your cycle as a battery divided into four stages. Just like spring isn't immediately warm, the follicular phase isn't instantly charged. We take it slow, like adding layers before stepping out in spring. It's a phase of preparation that, when embraced gradually, allows your creativity to bloom. Lasting around 7-10 days, the follicular phase might extend, especially in women with PCOS, leading to a longer egg maturation phase. It's crucial to know our cycle to recognize these signals.


Tips to support the follicular phase:


Nutrition


- Support your liver and gut health by consuming foods that aid digestion, helping the liver break down excess estrogen and eliminate it through the intestines.

- Opt for light meals reminiscent of spring

– Think green leafy vegetables, sprouts, zucchini, various lettuces, and broccoli. Incorporate fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut for a dose of happy bacteria.

- Use gentle cooking methods like steaming, blanching, quick stir-frying, or light roasting for better digestion.

- Consider starting a detox if it aligns with your plans.

- Choose organic produce whenever possible and source it directly from farmers, along with meat and fish.


The Muses Faves for the follicular phase





Lifestyle


- Allow your mind space for creativity; don't fill your schedule to the brim. This phase is for planting seeds.

- Explore new forms of exercise, knowing when it's too much. Try a free-flowing dance at home, eyes closed, letting your body move as it pleases.

- Prioritize self-care over the urge to do too much or fill your schedule.

- Plan a date with someone special in your life at the moment.

- Avoid products, cosmetics, and household items containing synthetic chemicals like BPA, BPS, and phthalates. These hormone disruptors can lead to excess estrogen production, causing unpleasant symptoms and even hormone-related diseases.

- Swap plastic containers in the kitchen for glass storage containers and plastic bags for reusable silicone ziplock bags.





I've been through times when my follicular phase felt completely off balance. While it's typically the most stable phase for most women, I felt tired, experienced mood swings, and my egg maturation phase lasted longer than 10 days. By refocusing on what I needed during this phase and supporting my hormones with the right nutrition and lifestyle, I saw my cycle improve month by month. We aren't machines; we're women experiencing each phase uniquely, and embracing this can positively transform our cycle. That's what I wish for every woman, and it's why I do this work.


A quick note: If you're breastfeeding, it's normal for this phase to last longer. Prolactin, the hormone produced during breastfeeding, can suppress ovulation. However, this depends on the frequency and duration of breastfeeding. Seek advice in this case; it's still possible to live according to your cycle and identify when ovulation occurs.


Hormone & Fertility specialist Lavinia Frantzen

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