Carmen Lorenzana - How was your cycle this year?

2022 is about to end! Time flies, and this has been quite a year.

Before welcoming the new year, I’d like to invite you to carve out some time to review how your cycle was this year. I’ve been doing this ritual for years, and I love it because it helps me see the big picture and learn more about myself.

Our cycles are an incredible feedback tool, constantly giving clues about our health and well-being!

Here are some suggestions for doing an end-of-the-year check-in:

What was the average length of your cycles? Did you have any shorter or longer cycles than usual?

The healthy length of the cycle for someone of fertile age who isn’t using any form of hormonal birth control, postpartum or breastfeeding, is 24-36 days. Some variation is common, but if your cycle is consistently out-of-range, it may be the first noticeable sign that something isn’t right.

Pay attention to any variations in the length of your cycle, even if it’s within the healthy range.

What was the average length of your period? Did you have a shorter or longer period than usual? 

In a healthy period, you should bleed from 3-7 days with at least one day of medium or heavy bleeding. Knowing how much you bleed can give you clues about your hormonal levels and tell you if there is an imbalance.

To objectively measure how much you bleed, keep track of the size or volume of the menstrual product you use, how often you change it during the day, and how full it is when you change it — check the guidelines here.

Did you have any spotting days before your period?

Sometimes it’s common to see dark or brown spots in the days before your period. Premenstrual spotting can be a sign that your body is not producing enough progesterone, a sign of an underlying thyroid problem or indicate anovulatory cycles.

Did you have any anovulatory cycles?

An anovulatory cycle is a menstrual cycle in which ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovaries, doesn’t occur.

Ovulation is a sign of health because it’s thanks to it that we produce estrogen and progesterone, which are essential for our well-being. So we want to make sure it’s happening every cycle.

You can identify whether your cycles are ovulatory by charting your fertility signs (cervical mucus, LH surge, basal body temperature and bleeding patterns). I teach you how in my signature course Chart Your Cycle.

What was the average length of your luteal phases?

The luteal phase is the time of the cycle dominated by the activity of the corpus luteum (the tiny gland that produces progesterone after ovulation). It begins after ovulation and ends one day before your next period. It lasts about 14 days, but between 9-18 days is common.

The luteal phase length is important because it tells you if the corpus luteum formed correctly and produced sufficient progesterone levels.

Did you have other relevant symptoms?

Symptoms like pain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, acne or mood swings can reflect hormonal or other health issues. The severity of these symptoms can vary depending on many factors, including hormonal imbalance, diet, stress, illness or exercise.

Pay attention to any symptoms you experienced this year, especially those that appeared frequently.

What did you learn this year thanks to your menstrual cycle? 

Every cycle gives you the opportunity to discover new insights about yourself. Tracking your cycle is a great way to unlock your superpowers in each phase and become mindful of your vulnerable moments and needs.

So the end of the year is a great time to put this information together and find patterns.

Finally, what’s one resolution related to your hormonal health you can set for next year? 

What would you like to learn about, be more mindful of, or work on next year?

And if learning more about your cycle is calling you this year, I’m here to support you! I’m working on next year’s new online and in-person offerings, so stay tuned!

New to Menstrual Cycle Awareness and not sure where to start? Download my free guide with 3 simple steps to get to know your cycle.

New to Menstrual Cycle Awareness and not sure where to start?

Download my free guide with 3 simple steps to get to know your cycle.

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