Ohana chatted with Lola Ross, the co-founder of Moody Month, a personal wellness companion app tailored to your menstrual cycle. The app offers a platform to optimise and personalise your daily health, including education from health specialists about mood, food, fitness and how hormones may influence the body.
Learn how to value your own health and sexual wellness!
What is Moody Month and what inspired it to start?
Moody Month is a personal wellness companion app tailored to your menstrual cycle. Our founder Amy, conceived the idea after facing her own hormonal issues and the lack of information she could access, then we met and started bringing together a team. What we wanted to achieve was a cycle and body education resource which gave our users access to free, progressive, evidence-based guidance around supporting your hormonal health.
As a female health nutritionist, I understand how important food and lifestyle approaches can be in this area, and are often an excellent complement to any traditional approaches in treating reproductive and mood imbalances. We are so lucky to have some incredible experts involved in creating Moody, including gynaecologists, GPs, endocrinologist's, physiologists and other practitioners.
How can you use your personal log and tracking to make improvements to wellbeing and health?
Your mood and symptoms logs are presented in a report on the app. You can look back, historically, and see which logs are recurrent, or significant, and where they land in your cycle. These may be positive or distressing symptoms. Observing what you are logging is a useful first step in understanding yourself better, and pointing you in right direction for healing.
Getting into a habit of checking in with yourself by logging can provide super useful insights into your unique cycle. This information can give you an opportunity to:
Patient recall is notoriously fallible. It is also useful to have a documented record of your experiences to support any conversations you may have with health professionals about concerns.
How can women 'own' their menstrual cycle and value their cycle?
Understanding basic physiology and anatomy of your reproductive system (e.g. the four phases of the cycle, hormonal behaviour and common symptoms) is very empowering. You won’t typically get this sort of nuanced-cycle information from your GP, but Moody Month and the emergence of brilliant cycle health books that now occupy the menstrual space, are redefining what periods mean to us.
What are the three main hormones related to the menstrual cycle?
The key hormonal players that help to govern the cycle are oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. They work in a delicate rhythm and co-ordinate with different events that contribute to cycle function. One or all of these hormones can become imbalanced for a wide range of reasons, which can reduce the efficiency of the cycle and effect hormone balance integrity.
How are different systems in the body connected to our cycle?
The hormones that regulate our cycle can influence many body systems. As an example, dips in progesterone and oestrogen during our Reflect phase, can interfere with serotonin activity and trigger mood shifts. For some women, high levels of circulating oestrogen during the Rise phase, has an energising effect, which can over-stimulate the brain and in some can lead to wakefulness at night.
How might exercise support moods and menstruation?
Physical activity is one of the central components to a healthy, balanced body. Exercise pumps fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood around the body to target organs to help them function optimally. Regular activity also helps to regulate energy balance and sleep quality, which are important in feeling energised and in mood regulation.
How might the time of year and time of day influence our moods and cycle?
Seasons and time can influence our moods and cycle. We see this clearly in the influence of winter months on our circadian rhythms, and in some people, the onset of Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) during that period of low light. There are no peer-reviewed studies looking at the influence of moon cycles on our menstrual cycle, but for centuries, women have made connections to this relationship. It would be interesting for more research to be done in this area.
What are your top nutrition tips to follow throughout your cycle?
We have a full cycle support plan (here), which allows you to understand your basic nutritional needs during the four phases of your cycle. While there is a typical hormonal pattern in the four phases of a healthy cycle, your cycle is unique. Here are some factors:
These may require you to further personalise your cycle support plan to suit your health best.
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