My Hormonology

Which week are you on in your cycle?

Week 1
First day of period to Day 7
Today’s hormonescope: If it’s the first half of your Week 1, you’ll probably feel a bit drained and foggy due to menstruation, which tends to deplete women’s bodies of energy-boosting iron. To lift your pep and feel more alert, take an iron supplement or dine on iron-rich foods, which include clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, beef, chicken liver, beans, fortified cereal and turkey. If you’re in the second half of your Week 1, you’ll probably notice a surge of energy and brain skills courtesy of rising estrogen and testosterone. If you’re sensitive to this surge, you may notice a fast heart rate, a rise in nervous habits or a lot of fidgeting. These side effects should subside in a day or so as your body adjusts to your new energy level.

Week 2
Day 8 to Day 13
Today’s hormonescope: Today you may be dreaming big as high estrogen and testosterone amp up your ambition and optimism. As a result, you may be imagining the novel you could write, the business you could launch or the hottie you could land. Take advantage of today’s high hormonal confidence and energy to take the first steps toward reaching your goals so you can turn your dreams into a reality.

Week 3
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Today’s hormonescope: I love all my My Hormones Made Me Do It readers. That’s why I feel like I have to be as brutally honest as your best girlfriend about today’s advice: don’t try to get into a battle of wits—you are probably going to lose. There, I said it! But, it’s not because you’re not completely brilliant. You’ve just got rising progesterone working against you as it dampens verbal ability. As a result, you’ll be slow to think of cutting comebacks, you may end up confusing words in your witty retort and you’re likely to end up saying a lot of “ums” and “ahs” while your opponent is verbally slashing you to ribbons. A better bet? Take the higher road (or at least pretend to) by simply walking away. I know it’s not as fulfilling as thinking of something memorable to say, but you’ll still come out on top without having to utter a word.

Week 4
Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormonescope: You’re more apt to let curse words fly today as plunging estrogen makes you quick to anger. Some good news? Swearing actually reduces pain! Researchers reporting in the journal NeuroReport say that expletives trigger a surge of the stress hormone cortisol, which temporarily douses discomfort. And this propensity toward cursing couldn’t come at a better time since Week 4’s plunging estrogen makes you more sensitive to stubbed toes, sharp elbow jabs in crowds and other pain-inducers.

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