AD – This is a paid advertorial with Cherriful but all thoughts are my own

When I say “period” what do you think of? Blood, probably. Breakouts. Snacking on all the ice cream. Maybe cramps and the odd headache. But your menstrual cycle is much more clever and involved than just bleeding every month. It’s one of the most beautiful and natural things a human can go through and whatever you feel about your own period, they are pretty remarkable.

Cherriful

Please note that I will be using gender neutral language in this post to avoid alienating any individual that does not identify as female.

I’ve spoken about periods a few times on my blog before and vaginal health certainly isn’t something I’ve ever shied away from writing about, particularly after my first cervical screening and subsequent colposcopy upon finding abnormal cells. I even wrote about my experience with having HPV and educating those who might not be familiar with the virus.

These experiences have simply made me need to try and make reproductive health less taboo, in whatever small way I can. I’ve always been very honest and open about periods so today I’m excited to continue the conversation and talk about the different phases of a menstrual cycle, which is another important factor in getting to know our bodies and getting in tune with the wonderful work they’re doing behind the scenes.

Who are Cherriful?

But first I want to introduce you to Cherriful, who I am thrilled to be collaborating with on this post. Cherriful are best known for their reusable menstrual cups, made from medical grade silicone which can last up to 5 years. They also sell sterilizers for your period cup and eco-friendly reusable liners – for those lighter days!

Cherriful Period Cup Starter KitΒ£46.95

phases of the menstrual cycle

The Cherriful Period Cup Starter Kit is the perfect kit, with everything you need. Ideal for those who are perhaps new to period cups, as it comes with illustrated guides to help you with every step. Available in small/medium or large, depending on your own anatomy, the starter kit comes with the cup and sterilizer, as well as a cotton pouch to keep it in and 3 washable panty liners, for the lighter days.

phases of the menstrual cycle

phases of the menstrual cycle

The reusable liners are also amazing products and can hold up to 10ml of fluid, which is the same amount as a medium tampon. But of course, these liners can be used for your really light days or for that peace of mind, too! Containing 4 functional layers to help trap fluid and odor, they come in a pack of 6 or 10 and an array of colours. Who said periods had to be boring?

Cherriful also stand for sustainability in period products and are big on breaking the taboos around menstruation!

Want to win your own Cherriful Period Cup Starter Kit?

Cherriful are kindly giving away a set, which includes a period cup, sterilizer and 3 of these amazing liners to one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter your name and email address – no jumping though hoops here!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Getting to know your body with the four phases of the menstrual cycle:

Menstruation phase

This is the phase that most people will be most familiar with – the bleeding phase. Lasting on average between 3-7 days (but of course, some are longer or shorter!) and this is the phase where you’ll be using menstrual products like those from Cherriful. The body is eliminating the lining of the uterus through the vagina and you may experience symptoms such as cramping, back acne and nausea.

The first few days of this phase in particular can be hard for some people. I used to have a pretty heavy first day of my period, with terrible cramps. I’d feel light-headed and sometimes sick and just not be able to do much throughout that day. It’s also important to remember that this phase can be extremely debilitating for some people with severe symptoms or extremely heavy periods.

Some things to do during this phase which might make you feel better are:

  • Keep a hot water bottle on hand for your stomach
  • Wear comforable, lose-fitting clothes or pjyamas (if you can!)
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get all the sh*t done
  • Get mega cozy, with warming food, a cup of tea and a movie
  • Have a warm bath with scented candles and relax
  • If you can, try gentle exercise (perhaps some Yoga)

Follicular phase

This phase starts at menstruating and ends at ovulation (the next stage) and is when the pituitary gland releases follicle stimulating hormones to stimulate the ovary to produce around five to 20 follicles whereby each follicle houses an immature egg. The growth of the follicle stimulates the lining of the uterus, to prepare for pregnancy. And within this stage you may experience more vaginal mucus.

Ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle

The next phase is ovulation and this occurs approximately 2 weeks before menstruation starts. Ovulation is where the ovary releases an egg, ready for fertilization. The typical life span of an egg is around 24 hours before it dies, so if you’re trying to get pregnant, knowing when you’re ovulating can really help!

I get a cramp like pain on one side of my lower stomach when I ovulate so I can usually tell when this phase is happening in my body. This might not be the case for everyone though. You may also experience a change in cervical mucus (it may become stretchy and clear), a heightened sense of smell, breasts may start to hurt and an increased sex drive – yay!

Luteal phase of the menstrual cycle

The final phase in the cycle is the luteal phase and this is where the human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), hormone can be detected in a urine test if the egg is fertilized. The body keeps producing the raised levels of progesterone that are needed to maintain the thickened lining of the uterus, to grow the baby. However…

If the egg isn’t fertilized then your body will experience a drop in progesterone which will eventually cause the lining to fall away, which starts the cycle all over again. This is the phase where you might experience PMS symptoms. You can get mood swings, headaches, breakouts, have trouble sleeping, experience increased anxiety and get breath pain and tenderness during this time.

My PMS symptoms have always been quite bad. In fact, I usually feel worse BEFORE my period than during it. I tend to get very tearful and low, have seriously painful boobs and often feel really hot and bothered and anxious. It’s not a fun time!

If you’re like me, here are some things you can do to feel a little better during this time:

  • Eat regularly and healthily
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol
  • Wear a really supportive bra to help with breast pain
  • Reduce stress levels (try Yoga and meditation, self massage, journaling)
  • Remember that if you’re having mood swings or feeling low, it’s JUST hormones

It’s extremely important to remember that everybody is different and every BODY is different. People experience periods in so many different ways and there’s never a one size fits all approach to any of the phases above. But that’s the point of education and breaking taboos. To show that we ARE different. And that’s okay. All bodies are beautiful and incredible regardless.

Don’t forget to check out Cherriful before you go, if you’re in the market for new period products!

Menstrual Cycle Phases

Let’s talk periods in the comments! Tell me what products you use, what you struggle with most during your time of the month or how you like to manage those tough heavier days. Don’t be shy!

Wait! Before you go…

If you’ve got a spare minute today, please check out Bloody Good Period. They’re an incredible charity that help tackle period poverty by supplying sanitary products to those in need who might not be able to afford them or get them any other way. Periods don’t stop during a pandemic! I support Bloody Good Period with a direct debit donation every month and every pound makes a difference. So if you’re able, please consider donating!

90 Comments

  1. I wish I could use a cup! Such a great sustainable option. I’m waiting til my tampons/pads run out this year before making a switch to period panties. I have an IUD thats fallen out a few times so the cup would not be good πŸ™ Amazing for so many gals around the world tho! xx

    http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

  2. Thankyou for writing such an informative post! I’ve been getting into using menstrual cups recently and I can’t believe I didn’t know about them sooner!

  3. Such an interesting and informative post. I am going to have to look more into menstrual cups. I hate the waste that comes from pads and tampons. I started learning more about my cycle in the last year, and it feels great to be more in tune with my body.

  4. Wow this post is really informative! Haha the first thing I think of when someone says periods is instantly: Horrible Cramps! πŸ˜‚

  5. I’ve never tried a menstrual cup before they kind of scare me a little so I always just stick with tampons. Lovely little read though some very useful tips to take on board. xx

  6. Great post! I love that you are making conversations about menstruation less taboo. We need to be able to talk about our bodies and all the amazing things they do. Having open conversations, lead to increased knowledge and better health. I’ve never used menstrual cups before, but I’d be interested in giving them a try. Thanks for opening up the conversation!

  7. Love how you’re sharing information and breaking the barrier of the “taboo” topic by talking about periods in-depth! Really appreciate that you used gender-neutral terms as well.

    I have PCOS so my periods have always been all over the place and recently I had my worst cramps ever, but every time I learn something new about my changing body and how to cope. Menstrual cup has been on my radar but I haven’t tried it yetβ€”will definitely have to!

  8. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been nervous about making the switch to a cup. I love that this company sends it in a gift box with reusable panty liners too. May have to finally try it.

  9. I truly think it’s wonderful how open you are about this and I really appreciate all the information you shared. Periods are just part of life and definitely nothing to be weird about or ashamed of, so THANK YOU for this post! I’ve never tried a menstrual cup, but I’ve heard wonderful things about them from the people in my life who have utilized them. Maybe in the future I’ll test one out for myself.

  10. Switching to a cup was one of the best things I ever did when I still gad periods – it helped reduce cramps, I wasn’t throwing tampons away every four hours, and I was able to prove to my doctor that I was bleeding ~a lot~ because I could say how much a cup held and how long it lasted.

    The steriliser is an excellent idea! At the moment mine are boiled or I use cold-water sterilising solution, but my periods are wildly unpredictable (I shouldn’t be having any due to the meds I’m on but that’s women’s health for you) and boiling an entire pan of water is not what I want to be doing as I’m trying not to leak everywhere.

    Cora | https://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

  11. I’ve entered. Thank you for such a detailed post. I have never thought about trying a menstrual cup, but tampons are really painful because of my endo so it could be well-worth a try for me.

  12. I have never used a menstrual cup before but I am happy with period pants as I really hate waste. This sounds like a wonderful starter kit for anyone want a more eco period. Sustainability is a huge thing now.

  13. This looks like a great little starter kit and it’s so important for us to try and use more sustainable sanitary products. After trying a menstrual cup, I wouldn’t go back now!

  14. This is a great post. As a slightly older lady (42) I didn’t know all 4 phases, so this was very interesting to read. I am very much like you before my period starts, it’s great isn’t it! I use pads as when I was a teen I had toxic shock from tampons and haven’t used them since. I have seen the cups many times, perhaps now is the time for me to give them a try.

  15. This is such a great and informative post, Jenny. As others have said, you don’t get this much info growing up so it’s nice to see it being shared in such a supportive and positive way.

    I *think* I’ll be free of periods for the rest of my life unless my endo management plan changes so I don’t use anything anymore. Unfortunately I still have to deal with the less messy stuff – the PMS, the cramps, etc because of the endometriosis. On those days, heat relief is a blessing. And baggy comfy clothes! πŸ™‚

  16. I haven’t used a menstrual cup before, but their starter kit with the reusable liners looks great! I’ve been using the period pants & they’re great!!!
    I also agree reproductive health shouldn’t be taboo!

  17. I’ve been considering using menstrual cups – I have started to feel riddled with guilt regarding the sheer amount of waste sanitary towels create. Period panties seems like a great option too! What genius products which I’ll definitely be trying out! Thanks for sharing xxx

  18. I’m 29 in a month. And yet I swear I’ve just learnt more reading this than anyone has ever told me. This was so informative and so useful. It’s insane how these things aren’t discussed more or part of every day conversation. Mine’s all over the place – not uncommon to skip months or have a really light one drag on for weeks and weeks. Oh, plus the hormonal migraines, but because I’m so irregular I can’t prepare for them. So mine can knock me flat before I even get the cramps. Fun times! I love this post – such an important thing to be open about!

  19. Great post, Jenny! I’ve recently switched to period panties and – this might sound a bit dramatic – but they’ve honestly changed my life. So much less waste and they’re comfy!

  20. I have never tried to use a menstrual cup before. But I also have a severe case of endometriosis so I hardly ever have a period anymore due to the medicine I am on now.

  21. I have been using reusable handmade flannel and cotton pads all my life, but I love companies that produce sustainable products in general, so Cherriful sounds amazing! It was also very educating to read about the different cycles the body goes through throughout the month.

    I usually get cramps very badly the first day of my period and it lasts a full week. For the first day I drink a herbal tea to replenish or sometimes a nap is all I need. My cycles are also a bit irregular; I bleed every month but not within a month. (Sometimes there are six week gaps) However, lately I have been taking yellow dock tincture to help regulate my cycles. For the past two cycles I have been bleeding on a gemini moon with moderate cramps so I am pretty happy with that!

    Also, I have heard that taking baths while bleeding is not a good idea, as the water may invade. Showers are fine, though. However, it is all about what your body needs so finding what works for you is doubly important. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this powerful writing!

    1. I’ve actually never heard that about baths. I think they probably work for some and not for others but I’ve never had any problems with a bath. Thank you for sharing your experiences too – on a gemini moon is so cool!

  22. Love this post, it really shouldn’t be a taboo subject! Not going to lie, I’ve always been a bit nervous to try out a menstrual cup, but I do have period pants and not to be too dramatic, but they changed my life haha. They’re super comfortable and they really do keep everything in with no leaks! xx

  23. I’ve really been wanting to make the switch to using menstrual cups because I’ve always heard such good things and I know my beloved Always liners aren’t the most sustainable thing in the world but I haven’t actually bit the bullet yet! These sound really great though. (also your recap of the menstrual cycle was giving me major throwbacks to my first year of uni!)

  24. This was such an informative post Jenny! I switched to a menstrual cup almost two years ago and never looked back! Trying to convince the girl to try period panties and liners! Tahnk you for sharing x

  25. Thank you for sharing this product lovely. I’m never used a cup before or even considered it to be honest, but I’m certainly trying to work on becoming more environmentally friendly this year, so you never know!

    Kate | kindlyk.co.uk

  26. When it comes to period, the first word that pops in my mind is β€œChillax”. I usually have period paint during my 1-3 days of period. So my period paint days is the time for me to chill, relax, and stay in bed. Hehehe. Btw, I haven’t try any menstrual cup 34 years of my life. Is it better than using sanitary pads?