How to Be at Your Best When on Your Menstrual Cycle

How to Be at Your Best When on Your Menstrual Cycle

If you’re tired of feeling bad during your cycle, there are natural ways to help improve your symptoms and be at your best. There are four phases of menstruation and below we break down how each phase affects your pelvic floor and steps you can take right now to start feeling better.

Bouquet of Flowers

Phase 1: Menstruation

This phase is marked by the first day of bleeding and can last anywhere from 4-7 days. During this time, estrogen and progesterone are at their all time low, which actually triggers the bleeding and shedding of tissue.

So how does this impact pelvic health?

With low levels of these hormones you can expect to experience more physical fatigue, joint stiffness, bloating, and mild cramping. You are less likely to have a higher sex drive and an increased risk for injury during high intensity exercise and sports. Many menstruating people experience looser stools and more urgency due to higher levels of prostaglandins, which are groups of fatty acids that our body creates in areas of inflammation (like the shedding of our uterine lining during your period). 

What can you do?

To help combat this, try to avoid highly processed foods leading up to your cycle and limit your caffeine intake.

Avoid highly processed foods and caffeine.

Phase 2: Follicular

This phase is the celebration for ending menstruation! Estrogen levels start to rise again, making us feel energized, focused, and less bloated/crampy. During this phase it’s a good time to increase activity intensity and map out goals for the month. Bladder and bowel health should return to your “normal” schedule during this phase.

You’re starting to feel energized and focused. Don’t waste the good vibes! Increase your activity level and take some time to set goals and intentions for the month.

Phase 3: Ovulation

This stage of your cycle is where your energy peaks! This is likely when your body feels quicker and stronger. Some people may notice random, sharp uterine cramping secondary to ovulating, these should be short lived and not debilitating. This is a great time to test endurance with weight lifting, high intensity interval training, and increasing your activity level. 

This is where your energy peaks! Take advantage by increasing your activity level and consider exercises like weightlifting and high intensity interval training.

Phase 4: Luteal

Progesterone runs the show in the luteal phase! This is typically where people may notice more constipation, breast tenderness, mood swings, cramping, and more vaginal heaviness.

So how does this impact pelvic health?

If you already struggle with constipation or have a vaginal/rectal prolapse, these symptoms can be exacerbated.

What can you do?

Exercise considerations include slowly tapering off high intensity exercise and integrating more mindful movement, prioritizing mobility work and lengthening muscle groups.

Listen to your body and decrease the intensity of your workouts.

How Can Pelvic Floor Therapy Help?

Pelvic floor therapy can provide you with a deeper understanding of your symptoms related to your cycle! By looking at your abdominal tension, core and hip strength, pelvic floor muscles, and nervous system, we can tell a lot about your overall health as someone who menstruates!

Symptom Management and Education

We can provide you with self help tools such as exercises/stretches, functional nutrition guidance, bladder/bowel retraining, and pain management. Learning about our cycles and how this impacts our overall health can help you live optimally through each chapter of life! 

If you are dealing with painful periods, have endometriosis, or are unsure of how to best manage your cycle, give us a call! Let our trained providers help you navigate menstruation and find relief from your period problems.

Cheers to good health!


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Written by Dr. Bria Stark

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