# Understanding The Complexity of Menstrual Cycle Symptoms Years ago, I learned about the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle and how, as women, we change so much over a 'month'. I read everything I could get my hands on. Which I appreciate, at the time, wasn't very much. But over the last few years, thankfully, this has changed. One thing I came across was how I could explain my cycle and what I was experiencing to my husband.  It was a concept first developed by Alexandra Pope in her co-authored book 'The Pill: Are You Sure It's For You?' She said that throughout the menstrual cycle, [[The Inner Seasons|we experience Inner Seasons]]. But one of the things I struggled with was that I didn't fit in with the framework they suggested. Not entirely, anyway.  I was also suffering from what I would consider PMS symptoms. But not in the typical sense. I experienced anxiety, mood swings, and headaches _after_ my period ended, not before it.[^1] I couldn't understand: - why I was experiencing PMS-type symptoms mid-way through my cycle - why I often felt anxious after my period, even though the books and research said I should feel happy and positive - why my husband and I fell out around ovulation (the time that was supposed to be all about 'us') - why I wanted to hide from people around ovulation, even though it was supposed to be my most outgoing season. - why I would get headaches and migraines mid-cycle and not when I had my period, like other women I knew Then, I came across a research paper. 'One woman's low is another woman's high: Paradoxical effects of the menstrual cycle'. Finally, I understood what was going on. Because you know what? I wasn't alone! Looking at this research made me realise three things:  1. menstrual cycle-related symptoms are not always around menstruation 2. every woman is different in the symptoms she experiences 3. it's so important to understand the differences in our _own_ menstrual cycles And it is these three points that I discuss in the article [[Unique Menstrual Cycles|The Complexity of Menstrual Cycle Symptoms]]. This is an article that I have been working on in the background for a few months now. Another article (along with [[Female-Based Research Flaws|the flaws in female-based research]]) that needed to be written as a foundation for building all other articles and blogs. Once we realise that research isn't always perfect and that each of us is unique, we can better understand any limitations or biases. This means we can approach new information with a critical but open mind and be more informed when making decisions. It's all about being curious and open to new findings while still being aware of the potential flaws. [^1]: Before knowing my cycle, my husband would ask me if I was due on again. When, in fact, I had not long finished my period. "No, I am NOT due on. FFS" was often my reply!