It’s time for a refresher on the menstrual cycle and how it can affect the lives of those who experience it. The follicular phase starts from day 1 of the cycle and usually lasts about 13-14 days. This is the phase where the uterus’s lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy. The follicular phase is when the pituitary gland in the brain secretes a hormone to encourage egg cell growth in the ovaries. This results in one follicle releasing a mature egg, typically around day 10 of the cycle. The follicular stage ends in ovulation.

To explain the follicular phase, 21Ninety spoke with Women’s Health Practitioner, Adele Wimsett. Wimsett supports and helps women from menarche to menopause. She also offers an online hormone clinic to support women in achieving healthy hormone health.

What to Know

The follicular phase is also known as the “proliferative phase” since rising estradiol (estrogen) levels tend to cause the endometrial lining of the uterus to proliferate and thicken. The follicular phase has three parts: early phase, mid-phase, and late phase. Energy levels may be low at the start of the follicular phase during menstruation but pick up post-menstruation.

Once you finish the menstruation phase, there is a chance that you’ll experience rising energy levels. In this phase, the body doesn’t feel as slow-moving as it did during the menstrual phase. The energy levels and stamina may increase while cravings and appetite levels may decrease. Expect a willingness to return to fitness routines with more cardio and faster-paced workouts.

It’s also likely that you’ll feel more motivated, intellectually sharper, or bursting with ideas. You may even be able to complete tasks quickly and make logical decisions. A great way to think about this period is to imagine yourself being refueled. According to Wimsett, this is definitely “the time to catch up on things we pressed pause on during menstruation.”

‘Get-It-Done’ Energy

Great news for those who feel a boost in energy during the follicular phase; your body is ready to be in power mode. If you’re feeling sporty, adventurous, open to trying outdoor activities, or simply want to acknowledge the faster pace that you approach life with, this will all be magnified during the follicular phase.

“This is the phase where we can get the most done. It can feel the most empowering, rewarding and productive but we only really feel the benefits when we have honored our menstruation phase with relaxation,” says Wimsett.

It is an ideal time to take advantage of high mental and physical capabilities and, as an added bonus, you’ll feel elevated, not intimidated by to-do lists. During this stage in the cycle, it is typical to feel enthusiastic and ready for fresh starts. The pre-ovulatory nature of this phase in the menstrual cycle mimics the high energy of the body preparing to release an egg; you may feel the sudden influence of impulsiveness. “This is a great time to start a new intention – spending time mapping out the steps you need to take to achieve this cycle,” adds Wimsett.

“This phase is great for creating new structures and systems, analyzing data, learning new skills, starting a new project. Our inner drive allows us to battle through challenges. We feel inclined to take risks and stand up for what we feel is right.” The sense of accomplishment usually resonates during the follicular phase. This makes it a great time to make decisions, draw upon excellent mental abilities, and make the most of the mood-boosting affects of this phase.

Impact on Social Life

With fresh clarity, this is also a great time to reengage in social activities. “It is a good time to make social plans, do the things you really enjoy, and get your flirt on!” Wimsett tells 21Ninety. Confidence is another consequence of this highly energetic phase of the menstrual cycle.

One thing to be aware of is that the abundant energy may lead you beyond your capacity if unchecked. It may become easy to overbook or overcommit to social plans that may not lend as easily to the mood later in your cycle.