How our cycle affects other systems of the body & what you can do about it!

Ever wondered if you burn more calories on your period? Why your stomach is super sensitive a few days of the month? Or why you get a cold more easily at certain times?

Here at Honne we are all about helping you achieve optimal health by understanding and working with your natural rhythms and empowering you to hack your cycle to optimise your health.

As we all know, us women are not linear, we are a dramatic and beautiful landscape of shifting hormones, moods & bodily functions. We cannot expect to perform and feel the same way, day in, day out. But what we can do is arm ourselves with the knowledge we need to live optimally all month round.

Unfortunately most diets, supplements, productivity hacks, exercise programs and work days are made for both sexes and really don’t take our cycles in to consideration. It’s no wonder that 1 of 2 women are suffering with hormonal issues or imbalances!
While we are warriors and have the power to do it all and be it all, let's face it some days we are energised with back to back spin class on the go and some days even our XXL almond latte leaves us lacking motivation. 
Thats because our cycle affects the most vital systems of the body- brain, immune system, metabolism, gut and microbiome, nervous system and reproductive system. 
At Honne we embrace this cycle, using naturopathic and Japanese wellness methods to create formulas that actually help women solve their period and hormonal health problems.  
Here’s a little recap of the 4 phases before we dive in to exactly how our hormonal fluctuations affect other systems of our body.

  • Phase 1: Follicular (the 7 to 10 days after your period)
  • Phase 2: Ovulatory (the to 4 days in the middle of your cycle)
  • Phase 3: Luteal (the 10 to 14 days between ovulation and your period)
  • Phase 4: Menstrual (the 3 to 7 days of your period)
(graph source

Your Immune system through the phases:

Follicular: Due to rising Estrogen, inflammatory response is increased. That’s good news because you are less susceptible to infection during this phase. 

Ovulation & mid luteal: During most of the luteal phase of the cycle, the immune system is suppressed, Although inflammation has a bad reputation, having a suppressed inflammatory response increases a person’s risk of infection.

Honne hormone hack:  Focus on nutrient dense supplements, green smoothies & cold and flu fighters like lemon, ginger, echinacea during this time.

Late luteal phase & menstruation:
In the few days before and throughout menstruation, we are more likely to experience negative or worsening of symptoms from chronic health conditions, such as asthma or arthritis, as inflammatory responses return. But don’t worry it’s nothing your morning smoothie routine can’t manage!


Metabolism & energy

Follicular & ovulatory: Training will feel easier and you will recover more quickly (yay) especially during the later part of the follicular phase.
As Estrogen and the luteinising hormone surge triggering ovulation, you’re likely to experience an increase in energy and strength.
Honne hormone hack: Put on your trainers & get to that pump class pronto!

Luteal & menstruation phase: Say hello to increased fat burning as the peak in oestrogen and progesterone suppress gluconeogenesis (the making of sugar from protein and fat). The downside? Exercise may feel like an uphill battle and you will tire much faster as it’s harder for the body to access sugar.
During this phase your metabolism peaks (along with your appetite). Manage this with low intensity exercise and drinking your super protein smoothie within a couple hours after exercise. 

Honne hormone hack:  Focus on yoga, stretching and low intensity cardio during this time.

Gut health & microbiome:

Follicular: Nothing much out of the ordinary at this time. A great chance to take the time to prep and detox your gut for the upcoming changes.
Honne hormone hack:  Think yogurt, kombucha, or sauerkraut to support gut microbiome and detoxification.

Ovulation: Estrogen levels peak at the start of ovulation then drop significantly afterwards, which can lead to an increase in constipation and bloating. The best thing you can do is eat fibre rich foods, drink plenty of water and stay active (even a 20 minute walk is great!)

Late luteal phase: Don't shoot the messenger, but the drop in progesterone leading up to menstruation means your’e more likely to get bloated, constipated or have diarrhoea. As hormone levels fall to the lowest point during menstruation, symptoms like stomach pain, discomfort, and constipation or diarrhoea become more common and intense.

Honne hormone hack:  IBS is affects 3:1 women to men, so if you haven’t started tracking your bowel movements & cycle now is the time! (We love Cara care app)

Menstruation: Progesterone stimulates the motor activity of the gut, which may be the cause of more frequency and looser consistency of bowel movements during menstruation. There’s not a whole lot you can do here but let your body do it's thing and continue tracking your bowel movements & optimising your cycle.

Remember that with everything knowledge is power and every one of us is completely unique. So gather as much data as possible by tracking your cycle, keep nourishing your body & stay tuned for more ways to optimise your health and make your hormones work with you not against you!