Ancient cultures viewed the female body as sacred, an extension of the life force responsible for natural rhythms, rebirth and renewal. These cultures also recognized a connection between a woman’s menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle, and even referred to women during their menses as being “on their moon.” Is there a correlation between women’s menstrual cycles and the cycles of the moon? Can hormone balance be achieved naturally by restoring this rhythm in modern women?
From the annual changing of the seasons to the monthly phases of the moon, nature’s rhythms are simple and predictable. Every month, the moon transitions through its four phases in 29.5 days. Likewise, the female menstrual cycle tends to be between 28-30 days in length. The moon regulates the movement of fluids on the earth; it regulates the ebb and flow of the ocean tides and may also regulate the menstrual flow of fertile women. Studies show that women who have cycles 29.5 days in length tend to menstruate during the new moon. This suggests that women in rhythm with nature ovulate around the full moon and that their hormone levels are changing during the waxing and waning of the moon.
Women’s bodies follow a cyclical pattern managed by the hormones estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The beginning of a woman’s cycle is marked by the first day of her menstrual period. The first half of a woman’s cycle is called the follicular phase and is regulated by estrogen. During this phase, a healthy lining is building in the uterus and an egg is maturing in the ovary in preparation for a potential pregnancy. When hormone levels reach their highest mid-cycle, the ovary is stimulated to release an egg. Ovulation is the transition to the second half of the cycle, called the luteal phase, which is influenced by progesterone. At the end of the second half of the cycle, if a pregnancy has not occurred, the lining is shed and the cycle repeats itself.
In addition to the hormonal changes that occur during the follicular and luteal phases, there are mental and emotional changes noted during a woman’s cycle. The first half of the cycle represents productivity and creativity and is a good time for women to take on new projects or complete challenging tasks. The second half of the cycle is a time for reflection, introspection and personal growth.
When a woman is in alignment with nature, she is balanced on many levels. Unfortunately, modern women are challenged with environmental exposures and societal pressures that women in ancient times never had to face. Hormone-disrupting toxins and prescription hormones, in addition to increased stress levels and decreased awareness of the female body, all interfere with the natural rhythm. Women today are suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods, infertility, perimenopausal complaints and migraine headaches and are at increased risk for female cancers. Women who utilize natural medicine to regulate their hormones and detoxify their bodies often find that they do indeed shift their cycles closer to a natural rhythm. Women are returning to nature for hormonal and emotional healing as well as to reclaim the earthly rhythm their bodies are intended to follow.
- Conner, Kristina, ND. The Moon and Menstruation. NDNR, 2010: 6(2)
- Northrup, Christiane, MD. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. New York: Bantom Books, 1998
- We’Moon 2010: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn. Oregon: Mother Tongue Ink, 2010.
For more info, please contact Jessica Edge, ND, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, at (775) 324-3500 or visit online at www.RenoNaturalMedicine.com