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Moon and menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle is a natural process experienced by women, and for a long time, there has been speculation about its possible connection to lunar phases. Some cultures have believed in a link between menstruation and the moon, attributing different influences on the female reproductive cycle to each lunar phase. In fact, the word "menstruation" originates from the Latin word "mensis," which means "month" and is related to monthly lunar cycles (derived from the Greek "mén," meaning "month," and "méne," meaning "moon").

What are the menstrual cycle phases?

The menstrual cycle is the process that occurs in a woman's body to prepare for a potential pregnancy. On average, it lasts around 28 days, though the duration can vary from one woman to another. This cycle is divided into four main phases: menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase.
Menstruation is the initial phase of the menstrual cycle and marks the beginning of menstrual bleeding. This phase typically lasts between 3 and 7 days. During this period, the lining of the uterus sheds if fertilization of an egg has not occurred. The duration and intensity of bleeding may vary from woman to woman, and some may experience discomfort or premenstrual symptoms.
After menstruation, the follicular phase begins. During this phase, estrogen levels increase, stimulating the growth of a new ovarian follicle. This follicle contains an immature egg that prepares for ovulation. Additionally, the rise in estrogen helps to thicken the uterine lining to provide a suitable environment in case fertilization occurs.

Ovulation is the process where a mature egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. This occurs approximately halfway through the menstrual cycle, around day 14 in a 28-day cycle. During ovulation, a woman may experience changes in the consistency of vaginal discharge and an increase in sexual desire. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm, it can lead to pregnancy.
Following ovulation, the luteal phase begins. During this stage, the empty ovarian follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone to prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy. Progesterone further thickens the uterine lining and promotes a conducive environment for the fertilized egg to implant. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels decrease, initiating a new menstrual cycle.

So... What relationship does the menstrual cycle have with the lunar phases?

While research has been conducted on the possible relationship between the phases of the menstrual cycle and the lunar phases, the results have been mixed. Some studies suggest there is a correlation between the duration of the menstrual cycle and the duration of the lunar cycle (approximately 29.5 days), while others have not found any significant relationship.
One argument in favor of a possible connection is based on the assumption that the human body is influenced by natural cycles in the environment, such as changes in tides caused by the moon's gravitational pull. Some proponents of this theory suggest that the moon, by affecting tides, could have a similar impact on fluids in the human body, including blood flow and hormonal balance.

However, it is essential to note that the duration of the menstrual cycle can vary widely from one woman to another and is influenced by a variety of hormonal and environmental factors. Therefore, establishing a clear connection between lunar phases and the menstrual cycle is challenging.
Although the idea of a connection between the phases of the menstrual cycle and the lunar phases has been a subject of speculation and cultural beliefs for a long time, scientific evidence has not strongly supported this theory so far. The menstrual cycle is a complex process highly regulated by hormones, and its duration and individual characteristics can vary widely. While it is interesting to explore the possible relationship between the menstrual cycle and lunar phases, it is essential to remember that each woman is unique, and her menstrual cycle can be influenced by various internal and external factors.
However, a certain resemblance can be found between the lunar phases and the phases of the menstrual cycle. The lunar cycle is also divided into four phases:

  • New Moon: This phase marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle and lasts approximately 4 days.

  • Waxing Crescent: During this phase, the celestial body begins to become visible.

  • Full Moon: This is the moment when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned almost perfectly, allowing us to see the entire face of the moon.

  • Waning Crescent: This phase marks the end of the lunar cycle, and only the left side of the moon is visible.

The research team at Clue, a menstrual cycle tracking app, conducted studies on this topic and concluded that while "the lunar cycle and the average menstrual cycle are basically the same duration," according to their analysis of over 7.5 million cycles, "the menstrual cycle does not synchronize with the lunar cycle." While this study conducted by Dr. Wheeler for Clue is not the first to examine the relationship between the menstrual cycle and lunar phases, it is the largest.
Ultimately, the relationship between the menstrual cycle and lunar phases remains a subject of debate, and there is no conclusive evidence to support a direct connection, nor is there evidence to deny it.
As always, it is essential for each woman to know herself and pay attention to changes in her own menstrual cycle to better understand her body and reproductive health.

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