The Moon and The Menses – aka The Lunar Link

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Moons - Perigee and Apogee

A post in honor of the moon by writer Patti Winker:

The full moon is upon us.  And, not just any full moon, a supermoon.

The word ‘supermoon’ refers to a full moon at perigee, the point in the lunar orbit when the moon is closest to the earth. It’s a pretty cool full moon as it appears to be much larger than a regular full moon.

But, aside from the awesome spectacle of a supermoon, why is this important and what does it have to do with the subject of our menses?  Plenty.

There is the linguistic connection between the moon and the menses, of course.  The words come from the Latin mensis (month), which derives from the Greek meis/mens/men/mene (moon).

So, this we know; month-moon-menses, all related at the root.

But, it goes further than that, at least for me.

First, I have to admit to being ‘moonstruck.’

I was born and raised watching the moon rise over the river. It held a fascination for me. A huge orange Harvest Moon or giant white Snow Moon have always been, and always will be, thrilling to me.

I think that’s why I was keenly aware of one little bit of information that many of my girlfriends glossed over when we learned about menstruation.

It was suggested (by the menstruation authorities who gave us Very Personally Yours and Growing Up And Liking It) that our cycle would typically be 28 days.  Interesting.

I made the connection.  The phases of the moon are about 28 days, too.

Coincidence?  Maybe.

But, just in case, I made sure my ‘discreet calendar’ included the phases of the moon.

For decades, as recommended by the authorities, I kept my little calendar and counted the days, making my ‘X’s along the way.  However, the whole 28 day thing never really panned out.  So, I thought, “What do they know.”

Then I moved from Wisconsin to Florida.

As I merrily made my ‘X’s through the months, I noticed a very strange thing happening. My periods started getting closer and closer together.  Was this just a symptom of perimenopause?

After about six months, I noticed a pattern emerge… and stick. Another month.  Another month.  Another month.  It was undeniable.  I have the little ‘X’s to prove it.

My period started each month on the full moon.

It finally came true.  It took moving closer to the ocean for it to happen, but my body had finally synched with the moon.

Coincidence?  Science says there is no proof of lunar affect on humans.  I say science is wrong.

My girlfriends pooh-poohed the notion that somehow the cycle of our periods were connected to the phases of the moon.

Perhaps we just lived too far away from the pull of the tides.

Or maybe it just takes a lunatic such as myself to actually be affected, both body and soul, by the moon.

Either way, I’m going to enjoy basking in the glow of this month’s full moon – the supermoon.

Oh, and in case you think menopause puts a halt to all that moon cycle stuff, it doesn’t.  I still have the same crazy symptoms every full moon.

And, in the words of the great lyricist, pianist, and singer of songs, Billy Joel: “You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”

Thank you, Barbara, for allowing me to share my craziness with your readers.  I hope you enjoyed it and get a chance to also enjoy the supermoon.

About the author :

Patti Winker writes about topics that she and others of “a certain age” are concerned about.  In her blog, RemarkableWrinklies.com, you’ll find thoughts and information on aging well, health and fitness, having a bit of fun, a few debates, and some nostalgia thrown in.  She likes spending time with her grandkids and family, cooking, biking, swimming, walking, and going to the beach. She enjoys nature, but also appreciates a big city.  Patti is a contributing writer in our Tangerine Tango collaboration, and you’ll often find her here commenting and guest posting from time to time. Click these links to read more:

Pushing Fifty Or Pushing Puberty

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Patti

About the image:

The comparison in sizes of a full moon at perigee (left) and at apogee (right) is an illustration based on Galileo spacecraft images.

Image Credit: NASA

21 responses »

  1. One of my grandson’s favorite books is the Papagayo story about the moon-eater. I haven’t ever paid much attention to moods and the moon but like the idea of it. Something else to blame! Thanks, Patti!

    • Oh yes, Lisa. I love having something to blame for my lunacy! The older I get, the easier it is to say; “Well, it’s a full moon, you know.”

      Thanks for reading. And, I think I should get along quite well with your grandson. 😀

  2. Patti! I completely agree with you! Once I started eating a natural, plant based diet my monthly cycle sync up with the full moon. Several years later, I’m still in sync. The full moon is all about release. Releasing of emotions that come to the surface and your body releasing or shedding its lining. There are documentation that the women of tribes would gather together during their time and go off into the woods to gather and bond, respecting their time in a sacred space. Isn’t that all what we really want during that time? Time to process and relax while our bodies release? As a rushed society we have fallen away from those traditions. It’s time to embrace it again. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts (and support!), Natalie. How can we NOT be connected to the moon, the tides, the seasons? I have read those stories about women gathering for their ‘time’ and how it was a ritual of cleansing and renewal. It should still be like that. I agree. I think we have lost sight of these traditions and need to embrace them again. What surprised me most was that even now during menopause, I ‘cycle’ with the moon’s phases. Each month I have a few days of wondering why: why my pants don’t fit, why I just want to cry, why I want to sleep, why I can’t sleep, why I can’t stop eating. Then I look at the calendar and am once again reminded… it’s a full moon. If this wasn’t happening to me, I probably would never have believed it. Thanks again, Natalie, for joining the conversation. I sure appreciate your fresh and insightful prospective. And I know Barbara does, too. Come back again!

  3. I too am a “lunatic”, a moonstruck lover of all things moon. I find myself looking up every evening for our companion and never cease to be amazed by it’s ever changing beauty. Happy supermoon-get ready to howl 🙂 Thank you for the post!

    • Thank you, Cyn. I fear my grandkids will have one memory of me that overshadows all others – the memory of us driving along the bay, rolling down our windows, and me saying; “Okay kids. It’s a full moon. Ready? Let’s howl!” And merrily howling as I drive them home. Yikes. 😀

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me.

  4. Just stumbled across this as i found it curious as to why i started my period exactly on the evening of the supermoon. Im quite spiritual n practise self reiki all the time. The week leading up to the supermoon i couldnt stop eating n my sleeeping beens all over. Thanks for this article its made me understand lots.

    • I’m glad you found this post, too, Lindsey. It’s very real and very important that we recognize our bodily connection with the moon’s phases. I also go into a little withdrawal (depression) as the full moon wanes (the after full moon days). It helps to know what to expect. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Hi Patti,
    Thanks for your “connection” to earth and space, as we all are within that cycle, but not all of us realize it. I can only say, I still have “waves” of symptoms that move in and out with tides of PMS and I’ve been post Menopause for over 10 years. The full moon certainly does effect certain types of waves, that’s for sure. As the years carry on, those “waves” are less severe, but nonetheless, they are there. Be it irritability, moody, bloating, or even that needless well feeling, trying to store up for energy, yeah, they do still appear, but usually for me, only at this time of year, when the “super moon” is around.
    However, needless to say, other women have called me crazy, and that I didn’t know what I was talking about, let alone doctors who I’ve told this pattern to… yeah, all they want to do is start me on drugs! I’ve lived with this all my menses life and I’m 55 years old now. Yes, I started menopause very early, but not outside that realm of “normal”. At this stage… all I can say is thank you… for sharing because it makes me realize I”m not alone!

    Cheers!

    • Thank YOU, Deborah, for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. Yeah, I’ve been called crazy, too. (They may be right, but not about this.) I showed my doctor my calendar, and she thought it was interesting, but didn’t commit to anything more than coincidence. The fact that I saw my cycle sync with the moon when we moved to the Gulf of Mexico convinced me that the moon’s influence on the human body (and mind) is very, very real. I suspected it for many years, but never had concrete evidence until we moved.

      So, Deborah, take heart. You are definitely NOT alone! Women have known the truth throughout the ages, and been labeled ‘witch’ for sharing their knowledge. Modern science is mainly interested in fighting our body’s natural rhythm – with drugs, mainly, just like you said.

      The next time your symptoms around the full moon are causing you frustration, come back to this blog post and be reassured once more that there are many of us who believe and support you!

      Thanks again for reading and commenting, Deborah.

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  7. I’m exactly the same , first day of period is on a full moon. I’ve also worked out the closer the moon is to earth the more pain I’m in. It’s a supermoon 12th July 2014 and I’m in agony! Other months I barely notice I’m having a period!

  8. I have not had any luck in finding online anyone else who has felt the power of the moon at the level I have experienced it. After having normal menstrual cycles for 24 years, my period suddenly stopped last July, after having had surgery to remove ovarian polyps. In my late thirties with normal BMI & normal hormone levels, I had attributed it’s absence to Ashermann’s. I was literally 4 days away from having an HSG done when the Supermoon occurred July 12. Approx 24 hrs later, & just 2 weeks shy of a 1 year absence, my period returned. I had not even known that a Supermoon had occurred until my husband happened to mention it 2 days later. Now I am on the hunt to find out if what I give credit to actually has that degree of power, scientifically speaking.

    • Wow, Elizabeth!

      I’m not sure you’ll ever get the scientific proof you need; at least not within the medical field. But, I have heard more and more stories from women experiencing the same thing that it just makes too much sense NOT to be true. Good luck with your research, and I hope you are feeling well.

  9. Hi Patty,
    Very interesting article. I live near the ocean and Imy periods follow on a luner cycle.
    Did you notice any extreme symptoms on the super moons? I have been bleeding very heavy
    during this super moon.

    • Hi Emily. Thank you for reading!

      FIRST: Any time you experience heavy bleeding, it’s important to talk to your medical professional. So, please make that call first.

      Depending on your age, the heavy bleeding may or may not be something related to peri-menopause.

      Cycling with the full moon definitely became the norm after I moved close to the ocean. Before then it really didn’t happen that way at all. The combination of a super moon and living closer to the ocean did cause some extra weirdness, mostly in sleeplessness and muddled thinking.

      Be sure to talk to your doctor about the heavy bleeding. And keep really, really, really good records about your periods.

      Hope you feel better and the heavy bleeding is under control soon.

  10. Hi Patty,
    Thank you this is a very insiteful article. I live near the ocean and Imy periods follow on a luner cycle.
    Did you notice any extreme symptoms on the super moons? I have been bleeding very heavy
    during this super moon. I am just curios if you or anyone else has had a similar experience.

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