The last new moon of 2017 will illuminate the sky on Dec. 18, just in time for this year to fade out, and allow a new one to begin. Reflection is common during this lunar phase, so don't be surprised if you've been feeling especially reminiscent lately. It’s fascinating to think about how the natural cycle of the moon can influence your life: for instance, how you sleep, or even how you're performing at work. And, as a woman, can moon phases affect your period? You know you've thought about it before.
Speculation regarding whether or not there's a direct link between menstrual and lunar cycles is nothing new. From what I've gathered, though, there isn’t enough hard-hitting evidence to conclude if one directly affects the other. At the same time, however, there are undeniable parallels between the fluctuation of your period and the moon, like how each cycle is divided into four phases, and lasts (on average, in terms of menstruation) 29 days. For some women, this is where the similarities stop, but if you've noticed your cycle directly syncs up with the phases of the moon, there might be more to the story.
How your period responds to the waning and waxing of the moon depends on whether your cycle starts when the new moon begins.
Before we dive into these details, as a general reminder, allow me to point out that every woman’s menstrual cycle is unique to her, so when and how she bleeds is 100 percent up to her body. Each body operates differently from the next; if they didn’t, the world would be hit with a plague of raging PMS at the same time every month. However, that’s not the case, which means it’s unlikely that every menstrual cycle is in tandem with lunar phases.
So, how can you tell if your period and the phases of the moon occur simultaneously? I have a simple answer for you: by checking your calendar on the reg. It sounds obvious, I know, but the only way to know for sure if your period syncs up with the moon is to be aware of a) when you’re due for your period and b) how lunar phases work, and where they fall throughout the months.
Of course, you could take the easy route by tracking down the dates of each new moon with a quick internet search and jotting them down in your planner, but just in case you're interested in the scientific details beyond calendar dates, the new moon occurs when the sun and moon are aligned, while the sun and Earth are located on opposite sides of the moon.
If your cycle does align with the new moon, the synchronization could affect your mood.
Let’s say you’ve been keeping tabs on your period for a few cycles now, and you’ve concluded that, in fact, your body does go with the ebb and flow of the lunar rotation. Along with the standard premenstrual syndromes you’ve endured month after month, your emotional and physical body could be in for some surprises because of these special circumstances.
If you tend to become very emotional during your period, or find yourself separating from others to reflect, the moon might play a role in that. According to CycleHarmony.com, bleeding during the new moon causes women to become self-nourishing.
Founder of CycleHarmony.com Jing Jin explained this concept:
During [the new moon], anxieties, memories, and experiences may rise up, eager to be dealt with.
It’s a good time to take stock, and to draw conclusions from them. New moon menstruation is a strong time of healing and renewal.
Personally, I think it's super important to consistently practice self-love, regardless of the stage of your menstrual cycle. But there's no denying that a little extra self-care goes a long way on your period, especially because this is when your hormones are all out of sorts, and it's common to feel more vulnerable as a result.
In order to make sure this burst of anxiety doesn't negatively affect your day to day, give yourself time to really feel every emotion (you can do so by mood journaling, meditation, or exercise) without self-criticism. Honor your emotions, but don't harp on them.
Not every period is going to sync up with the moon, and that's also totally fine.
When I first learned about the possible connection between menstrual cycles and the moon, I low-key freaked out because my period is definitely not on track with the lunar phases. If you're pretty sure your menstrual cycle isn't following the lunar calendar either, don't panic. In fact, there's really not a ton of scientific evidence to prove that there is any direct correlation between the two at all.
A 2016 study released by the period-tracking app Clue showed that, after analyzing 7.5 million menstrual cycles, data scientist Dr Marija Vlajic Wheeler concluded that "period start dates fall randomly throughout the month, regardless of the lunar phase."
Having said that, it's completely normal if your period doesn't perfectly align with the four phases of the moon. It's also totally fine, and admittedly pretty awesome, if your unique cycle does. Regardless, it's important to keep track of when your period comes each month, and how your body responds, so you can always take care of yourself in the best ways possible.