The Menstrual Cycle And The Lunar Cycle: Are We Really Counting Stars?
Horoscopes, moon jewelry charms, moon dust supplements, moon decor...let’s face it, there’s a lot of hype around the moon lately. But the current trendiness of the moon extends beyond the oh-so-beloved lifestyle page on Urban Outfitters. In fact, there has been a rumored link between the menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle. Some womxn find that they tend to ovulate during certain phases of the lunar cycle or they experience different menstrual symptoms at different stages of the lunar cycle. This has led to the belief that the lunar cycle influences our menstrual cycles. Is there truth in this? Should we be tracking the moon phases to help us track our menstrual cycle?
As always, let’s tackle the basics first. If you aren’t geeking out about the astrology trend right now, you may not know about what the lunar cycle is. The lunar cycle describes the change in the portion of the moon that is directly sunlit throughout the month as its orbital positions around the Earth change as do the orbital positions of the Earth and Sun. Sounds like some seventh grade science class sh*t, right? But the lunar cycle is pretty cool in that it is about the same length as our menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle takes place over an average of 28 days while the lunar cycle takes place over the course of about 29.53 days. So is this coincidence or fate?
A study conducted in 1986 found that during a new moon, people are more likely to menstruate (a new moon is basically the opposite of a full moon, so the Sun and Moon are aligned while the Sun and Earth are on opposite sides of the Moon). Additionally, in a study performed in 1962, scientists found that individuals ages 14 to 18 are likely to menstruate during the light half of the lunar cycle. This refers to the first and third quarters of the lunar cycle in which fifty percent of the moon’s surface is visible, so it looks like a delicious black and white cookie hanging up in the sky. Another study found that people who have irregular menstrual cycles may benefit from mimicking lunar light patterns due to the fact that our hormonal activity can be influenced by light––seasonal depression anyone?
All of this seems pretty convincing right? Well before you order a lunar phases calendar, there is actually no proven link between the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle. A study performed for the period tracking app, Clue, involved the largest analysis on the relationship between the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle, looking at over 7.5 million cycles. The study found that there was no correlation between these two cycles. So what’s the deal? Well, because the lunar cycle and menstrual cycle are so close in duration (29 and 28 days, respectively), it just so happens that given any amount of menstruators, some of their cycles are bound to line up with the lunar cycle simply because of how much their timing overlaps. Further, this study from Clue found no indication that the period typically starts during the new moon. In fact, it found that 1 in 2 people will start their period +3 or -3 days from the full moon or the new moon which equates to 14 days of the lunar cycle, meaning half of all menstruators will have their period during any random half of the lunar cycle. It’s a little bit confusing, so check out this website if you want to learn more.
As much as I totally wish we could use the moon phases to help us track our menstrual cycles, there really is no link between them––just a beautiful coincidence by Mother Nature. No matter if your period aligns with the lunar cycle or not, Viv always encourages you to shoot for the moon!
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