5 Genuinely Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Periods

It might happen every month, but how much do you actually know about your period and menstrual cycle?

Did you know, for example, that estrogen helps to build muscle? Or that your face appears most symmetrical before ovulation? Or even that your cycle can influence who you fancy and when?

These are just some of fascinating topics discussed on 28ish Days Later, a new podcast on BBC Sounds seeking to reveal the facts and hacks to make your period less of a pain.

We asked host India Rakusen to share some of the most surprising things she learned while recording the series:

1. Estrogen helps make you the best version of yourself

Estrogen, the absolute queen bee of the hormones in the menstrual cycle, rises through the first half of the cycle and peaks at ovulation.

Dr Jackie Maybin, a consultant gynecologist and senior research fellow at the University of Edinburgh and the Medical Research Council center of reproductive health, describes estrogen as a “dream hormone”.

“It makes you feel quite good about yourself. You usually have a bit of a can-do attitude and the first half of your cycle,” she says during the podcast.

High levels of estrogen as seen in the days just before ovulation appear to correlate with increased “attractiveness” in women (as perceived by heterosexual men). It has the effect of plumping up the skin – even making the face seem more symmetrical.

“Estrogen is getting ready for you to become pregnant,” says Dr. Maybin. “So she’s making you as attractive as possible. And the great version of yourself…”

And that great version of yourself isn’t just about sex. Because of its sassy, ​​powerful nature, when estrogen is peaking around ovulation, this can be a good time to do things you need lots of energy or confidence for like job interviews, pitches, organizing, planning and of course dating.

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