You know those funky mood rings from the ’70s? They were so cool because they changed color to reveal what mood you were in.
Well, your vagina works just like a mood ring: The color and consistency of your daily vaginal secretions can tell you which phase of your cycle you’re in, which then can predict your mood, energy and so much more.
All it takes to find out is doing what I call the “dipstick test”. It’s where you use a finger like a dipstick checking oil in your car: You slide your finger inside your vaginal canal, swoosh it around a bit, then pull it out and see what your fluids look like.
And, here’s what this can tell you:
If your vagial fluids are clear, watery and/or slick, sort of like egg white, then you’re in the first half of your monthly cycle–your Week 1 (after your period ends, naturally) or Week 2. This is when estrogen is rising, which improves your outlook and resilience, increases your mental and physical energy, sharpens brain skills and revs confidence, extroversion, ambition, competitiveness and a desire for adventure, romance and travel. You’re talking more, looking for new experiences and thrills and tend to splash out on items that make you look more beautiful or boost your status.
If your vaginal fluids are cloudy, white, thicker and/or sticky, sort of like a paste, then you’re in the second half of your monthly cycle–your Week 3 and Week 4. This is when progesterone dominates (which is what changes the consistency and color of your secretions, by the way) and estrogen takes a back seat as it dips twice. During this half of your cycle, your hormones are slowing you down, tiring you out and making you quieter, more introverted and more concerned about safety and comfort. You tend to prefer the tried-and-true over anything new and prefer predictability to surprises. You’re more careful with your cash–except when it comes to delicious foods and beautiful decorative items, in which case, you’re getting the urge to buy them by the cartload as progesterone amps up hunger and your urge to feather your nest.
I’m bringing up this dipstick test to you today because it just came in handy for me.
I’ve been testing the new updated Hormone Horoscope app on all my devices. And, because I’ve had to change the settings a million times to test every facet of the app to ensure it’s working correctly, I lost my personal settings and lost track of where I was in my cycle.
So, when I did my daily dipstick test yesterday, I was shocked to see cloudy white instead of clear and slick like I expected.
My body was telling me I was in my Week 3. But, I thought for sure that based on the (admittedly shaky) math I was doing in my head, I was still in my Week 2. I mean, I would have put money on it.
In fact, I was certain I was still in my Week 2 despite having suddenly gotten SO tired two days ago (a hallmark of my transition from my high-energy Week 2 to my low-energy Week 3). But, I just chalked up the sudden fatigue to shorting myself on sleep as I’ve been trying to cram in more work while finishing up the Hormonology apps into an already tight daily schedule.
And I was certain I was still in my Week 2 despite having no desire to take my husband up on his offer for us to take a break from my computer and go downtown to try out a new restaurant. Week 2 me would normally jump at the chance to get out of the house and try something new. But, I chalked up my hesitancy to go to simply being more dedicated to making my deadlines.
And I was certain I was still in my Week 2 despite having no desire to talk. And a dropping-like-a-rock libido. And an increasing desire for comfort foods. All classic Week 3 traits–that I just chalked up to fatigue and stress from my heavy workload.
So, I went back through my Hormonology newsletters to help me pinpoint the day my Week 1 started. And, sure enough, my body was right: I was in my Week 3.
While I was able to fool myself into thinking all those (now I see as quite obvious) Week 3 signs I was experiencing were really something else, I couldn’t fool my body. My cloudy, thick vaginal secretions were something I couldn’t explain away.
The upside is that I’m now back on track with my cycle–and, I can readjust my daily to-dos to coincide with my Week 3 energy and traits: I’m doing more tasks that require focus since rising progesterone helps you concentrate more easily on detail-work. I’m shopping for my sister’s birthday presents because it means going to cute little shops and perusing handmade soaps and other homey gifts. And, I’m tucking myself into bed a little earlier and letting myself sleep a little later as I lean into the rising progesterone fatigue and give my body the longer rest it craves.
I also treated myself to a scrumptious and seriously overly-indulgent double-brunch–Boston Cream French toast and an egg and cheese croissant sandwich–because I enjoy letting progesterone do the ordering every once in awhile. Besides, thanks to this hormone prompting 30% more fat-burn during exercise throughout Week 3 and most of Week 4, it means 30% less guilt with every indulgent bite. Which is enough to make me glad I discovered I really am in my Week 3!