WomanCode and Your Menstrual Cycle

In 2016 I finally ended things with my first serious relationship as an adult. A lot of things changed in my life and one of them was that I suddenly realized I didn’t have the same need to be on the pill since my relationship had ended. Along with my breakup, I had also started coming across information that showed links between the pill and blood clots. Blood clots run in my maternal family and I had recently had two family members have surgery because of it. Overall I remember feeling almost a repulsion to the pill and my body expressing a need to get off of it and I listened but I made this decision without consulting my doctor. For some reason at the time I didn’t think getting off the pill would have so many consequences. (It’s best to plan coming off the pill with your doctor and or health specialist) I spent the next few years experiencing everything from heart palpitations to fatigue and weight gain in a way I had never experienced. I spent a lot of time visiting doctors and no one really gave me clear answers. 

I was insistent and I kept Google searching my symptoms, checking on Pinterest, and reading books about the symptoms I was having. I was misdiagnosed by myself and doctors for everything from lupus to having a thyroid storm and more.  Finally, I came across Alisa Vitti’s book “WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source” the funny part was that I had downloaded it years before but never read it. Now it was time, I was ready. 

WomanCode exists because much like me Alisa was having a myriad of symptoms from weight gain to very irregular periods.  I found myself not being able to put the book down. I felt like I had been validated and that in fact I wasn’t crazy. I had such bad experiences with doctors from one asking me “Do you know what exercise is?” to another one who wanted to prescribe me anti depressants without even doing as much as a physical on me. As I read her story I related so much to what she had gone through. As a student at Johns Hopkins, Alisa Vitti was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. When her physicians gave her band-aid solutions to manage it, she discovered that food and functional nutrition addressed the root of the issue. After healing herself naturally of cystic acne, excess weight, and infertility, and normalizing her period, Alisa made it her mission to help other women to do the same. When I read the book I rememeber feeling my body say yes, yes, yes! So much of what she shared made sense consiously and almost at a deep viceral body level. 

The Woman Code Protocol

In the book Alisa outlines her system for healing numerous symptoms from infertility to low libido and numerous hormonal imbalances. The WomanCode protocol works by healing hormonally one step at a time.

Stabilize your blood sugar
Nurture your adrenals
Support the organs of elimination
Cross-train your menstrual cycle
Engage your feminine energy

In the book she details exactly how to work the steps in a cumulative fashion. You have to start with stabilizing  your blood sugar and build from there. What I love about her system is that she shares insight from a holistic stand point but also marries it with western information such as a what changes your brain experiences depending on what part of your cycle you are in. For me the biggest take away was cross-training my mentstrual cycle with my life.

Understanding Cycle Phases

When I started reading about cycle phases and how each one was different, I couldn’t believe I was only finding out about this in my late 20’s. My hope is that more women learn about this so that we can begin to pass on this information to young girls. I kept thinking how much more empowered I would have been if I had access to some of this information as a young girl who just started having her menstrual cycle. 

Phases of Menstrual cycle

The day count for menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstruation when blood starts to come out of the vagina. In this section, the length of menstrual cycle has been assumed to be 28 days (which is the average among women). The entire duration of a Menstrual cycle can be divided into four main phases:

  1. Menstrual phase (From day 1 to 5)
  2. Follicular phase (From day 1 to 13)
  3. Ovulation phase (Day 14)
  4. Luteal phase (From day 15 to 28
Menstrual phase (day 1-5)

Menstrual phase begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts till the 5th day of the menstrual cycle. The following events occur during this phase:

  • The uterus sheds its inner lining of soft tissue and blood vessels which exits the body from the vagina in the form of menstrual fluid.
  • Blood loss of 10 ml to 80 ml is considered normal.
  • You may experience abdominal cramps. These cramps are caused by the contraction of the uterine and the abdominal muscles to expel the menstrual fluid.
Illustration of Menstrual phase lasts from day 1-5 showing uterus shedding its inner lining and menstrual fluid flowing out of vagina - Menstrupedia
Follicular phase (day 1-13)

This phase also begins on the first day of menstruation, but it lasts till the 13th day of the menstrual cycle. The following events occur during this phase:

  • The pituitary gland secretes a hormone that stimulates the egg cells in the ovaries to grow.
  • One of these egg cells begins to mature in a sac-like-structure called follicle. It takes 13 days for the egg cell to reach maturity.
  • While the egg cell matures, its follicle secretes a hormone that stimulates the uterus to develop a lining of blood vessels and soft tissue called endometrium.
Illustration of Follicular phase lasts from day 1-13 showing an egg cell maturing in a follicle in one of the ovaries and endometrium begins to develop in the inner surface of the uterus - Menstrupedia
Ovulation phase (day 14)

On the 14th day of the cycle, the pituitary gland secretes a hormone that causes the ovary to release the matured egg cell. The released egg cell is swept into the fallopian tube by the cilia of the fimbriae. Fimbriae are finger like projections located at the end of the fallopian tube close to the ovaries and cilia are slender hair like projections on each Fimbria.

Illustration of Ovulation phase day 14 showing an egg being released from the ovary and enters the fallopian tube. Fimbriae of the fallopian tube is labeled - Menstrupedia
Luteal phase (day 15-28)

This phase begins on the 15th day and lasts till the end of the cycle. The following events occur during this phase:

  • The egg cell released during the ovulation phase stays in the fallopian tube for 24 hours.
  • If a sperm cell does not impregnate the egg cell within that time, the egg cell disintegrates.
  • The hormone that causes the uterus to retain its endometrium gets used up by the end of the menstrual cycle. This causes the menstrual phase of the next cycle to begin.

Menstrual information from www.menstrupedia.com

Cycle Syncing

Once I learned about how each cycle phase was different I started learning about cycle syncing. In her book Alisa shared that men go through their hormonal cycle in 24 hours while for women it takes us anywhere from 28-35 days. This was the first time I had read anything about that difference. Which led me to believe that I needed to embrace my feminine energy and the nature of who I am. Alisa shares how different parts of your cycle are better for organizing, communicating, and more. Everything from work to food to sex and working out, there are parts of our cycle that are better for these tasks. The easiest way for me to learn about how to apply cycle syncing into my life was by downloading the “My Flo” App created by Alisa it’s only $1.99 and has changed my life. 

How MyFlo Works

Track Your Period – Know when it’s coming and make sure it’s happening regularly, know when you’re fertile, and track when you’re having sex – all the basics.

Track Your Symptoms Daily – Track all kinds of symptoms any day of the month for each phase of your cycle, and the app will find patterns in your symptoms that point to specific hormonal imbalances.

Fix the Root Cause of your Symptoms – The app analyzes which symptoms are a recurring problem, then recommends a weekly, food- based prescription to resolve them.

Be notified When Your in a New Phase – Instead of wondering which phase you might be in, and what you need to remember about each phase, the app will notify you when you’ve entered a new phase and tell you everything you need to know about why you are amazing that week.

Sync Your Calendar with Weekly Activities that Work Best for Your Body – MyFLO will suggest work, exercise, food, social, and romantic-based activities that are most compatible with the phase you’re in. Tap on the ones you want to schedule and have them automatically added into your regular calendar system! We call this Cycle Syncing™.

Partner Sync – Wouldn’t it be great if your partner could psychically know which hormones are running the show any given week? And wouldn’t it be great if they could know what to suggest for date night, or just know what kind of foreplay you prefer? No need for psychic abilities, just sign them up for Partner Sync.

This app has been life changing for me, I’m going to work on a blog series about each phase but I wanted you to know how I got there. Have you read WomanCode?

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